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Ventura County filmmaker travels to Ukraine to document war

Ventura filmmaker Rick Ray shooting one of a series of mini-documentaries in Ukraine.
Photo courtesy Rick Ray
Ventura filmmaker Rick Ray shooting one of a series of mini-documentaries in Ukraine.

The end result is a series of more than two dozen short documentaries, showing how people have been affected by the conflict.

Stef is a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl, who is using art as an outlet to deal with the emotions of being caught in the middle of a war. She's doing images of women, and how they've been affected by war. She's featured in one of a series of short documentary films made by a Ventura County filmmaker.

Rick Ray decided he wanted to use his skills as a filmmaker to tell stories like hers, which weren’t being told.

He's a Ventura-based producer. Ray wanted to go behind the headlines, to talk to the Ukrainian people affected by the war. So, he packed up some gear, and headed to Ukraine for six weeks.

The filmmaker admits he didn’t have a concrete plan of where he would go. He got press credentials, and connected with a non-profit group which gave him some ideas on where he might find people with interesting stories.

Ray says he had no problem finding some amazing stories. There’s Andrey, who talked about how he and his family hid in a basement for weeks to avoid shelling. And, there’s Darina, who gave birth to her son while fleeing her home in the combat zone. The result of his trip is more than two dozen short documentaries.

The Ventura filmmaker says some of his films are now being shown in Ukraine. He said he's hoping that people seeing the documentaries here, in the United States will walk away with a better understanding of what's happening to the Ukrainian people, and why we should also be standing up for our democracy here at home.

Some of the documentary shorts will be shown at Cal State Channel Islands on Thursday. Ray will be on hand to talk about the project during the noon event, at CSUCI's Petit Salon. You can also see some of the films online.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.