Since he was a child, Taras saw the world through a lens. Annick saw the world through stories. Fate has brought them together and now this dynamic film duo is set to share with the world stories rooted in dynamic Ukrainian culture.
Taras Lesiuk and Annick Sheedy McLellan wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning short film Flyer Boys, which is now streaming on CBC Gem and Highball TV.
It’s a seemingly simple story about a Ukrainian grandfather trying to teach his Canadian-born grandson life lessons as they spend the hot summer months in Toronto distributing flyers. But as they find themselves at generational and cultural odds, the story takes the viewer along on their at times complex journey of understanding and acceptance.
Flyer Boys has been screened internationally, winning Best Short Film at the Toronto Short Film Festival (2023) and Audience Choice at the San Jose International Short Film Festival (2022).
In addition to working avidly to support artists in Ukraine, Taras and Annick are currently working on several new projects including a feature film titled We Connect From Here. Loosely based on a personal story, it is about a Ukrainian-born Canadian who travels back to war-torn Ukraine to help his grandmother flee the country. While the grandmother escapes, Mykola is prevented from leaving. The story is about two people trying to adapt to a new environment while reconsidering where they come from and where they truly belong.
The project has already received support from Midpoint Institute in the Czech Republic and was presented at the Berlinale and Cannes Film Festivals.
“There are two fronts in this war – the military and the cultural fronts. We need to galvanize support through art,” comments Lesiuk. “We need to put Ukraine back on the map so that it is seen on the world stage as a cultural giant. The time to invest in our culture is now.”
Although stories are grounded in reality, Taras and Annick love the magic that happens in that special moment when the viewer is let in on a little secret. Stay tuned for more of these magic moments.
Annick Sheedy McLellan