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To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, MEGOGO’s media service is releasing Break the Circle by Yelizaveta Smith.

The film will be available for viewing free of charge within Ukraine, and no advertisement will be shown during the viewing. You can watch the film in the Movies section or at

Break the Circle tells the stories of women who have changed their lives by breaking the circle of violence. However, these changes are a long and difficult process of working on yourself and your relationships with the world around you. From calling the police, living in a shelter to finding themselves again, women dare to embark on this path for their own and their children’s sake. 

The plot centres around Iva Stishun and Oleksandra Lebedynska, who both change their lives by breaking the circle of violence.

Today, Iva’s work is focused on domestic violence: she creates her own projects to support the survivors.

The second main character of Break the Circle, Oleksandra Lebedynska, ran away from her husband with their young daughter in her arms. Unable to get away from her abuser, she had been enduring the abuse for years, until one day she called the police and went to a shelter for victims of violence.

Maria Efrosinina, Honorary Ambassador of UNFPA Ukraine, TV presenter and actress, came up with the idea. Two years ago, she asked producer Olha Beskhmelnitsyna (Stop-Zemlia, Baikonur. Invasion, Ivan’s Land) to make a documentary about how victims of violence can change their lives and break the circle. The filming lasted 8 months. The crew spent all this time, next to the women who told their stories.

The film was directed by Yelizaveta Smith, one of the brightest young directors in the country.

Her début feature-length documentary, School #3 (co-directed with Georg Genoux), premièred at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival and won the Grand Prix in the Generation 14+ category. Her short film Solitude (2019) has already participated in 15 film festivals and is still travelling the world. Highlights include Odesa International Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, London Super Shorts Film Festival, Venice Film Week. It also received six awards, was nominated as the best short film for the Golden Dzyga Award of the Ukrainian Film Academy

 and was part of international programmes such as Berlinale Talents, TorinoFilmLab, The Write Retreat, MidPoint Feature Launch, etc. Yelizaveta Smith is a member of the Ukrainian and European film academies.

The production team included Viacheslav Tsvetkov, cinematographer; Olha Beskhmelnitsyna, producer; Oleksii Bevz and Andrii Nedzelskyi, sound directors; Maryana Klochko, composer; Yelizaveta Smith, Semen Mozhovyi and Olha Zhurba, editors; Yevhen Rachkovskyi, project manager.

The film was made with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ukraine as part of the EMBRACE Project to Combat and Prevent Gender-Based Violence with the support of the UK government.

The screening is part of the Break the Circle information campaign within a large-scale UNFPA programme to combat and prevent domestic and gender-based violence in Ukraine. The project aims to strengthen the role of cities in building sustainable protection mechanisms and providing assistance to victims of domestic violence.


Watch the trailer here: