Bernard-Henri Lévy, a French philosopher, writer, and filmmaker, has directed that his royalties received from his two documentaries about Ukraine be given to the Olena Zelenska Foundation to support war-affected Ukrainians.The funds raised will be used to rebuild the Izium Central City Hospital.
This year, Lévy traveled to the hot spots on the frontlines in Ukraine and filmed two documentaries: "Why Ukraine?", released on June 28, 2022, and "Slava Ukraini" (Glory to Ukraine), the premiere of which took place in Paris on February 6, 2023. The film will be released in cinemas on February 22, 2023, in France one year after the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine and in the coming months in the USA
Over 500 French public figures attended the premiere. They had an opportunity to meet with heroes from the film: Illya Samoylenko, a Ukrainian "Azovstal" defender, and Katherina Prokopenko, the wife of the commander of the "Azov" regiment, Denys Prokopenko and Natan Ben Noon, the Rabbi of Uman. The music for the film and the soundtrack, "We will never be the same again," were created by Svyatoslav Vakarchuk.
"Slava Ukraini" (Glory to Ukraine), a film dedicated to the bravery of Ukrainians, serves as evidence of the "Russian peace" criminality. It was shot during Mr Levy's numerous trips to Ukraine following the full-scale invasion.
Witnessing the immeasurable war crimes committed by the Russian forces and the devastating humanitarian situation in the country, the filmmaker pledged to direct his royalties from the two films to support people in war-torn Ukraine through the Foundation.
"For me, the personal commitment and devotion of the First Lady, Olena Zelenska, is deep and determined," says Bernard-Henri Lévy, "100% of her action is targeted assistance, and this is exactly what is needed today. Weapons on one side. Targeted humanitarian action on the other side. I am honored and pleased to help the Foundation and the First Lady in their mission. Just after the liberation of Izium, I visited the hospital that the Foundation intends to rebuild. In this area, there is nothing more noble, and urgent, than this initiative. It is my hope that, even in a modest way, my film, 'Slava Ukraini' will resound as a call to action in allied countries to continue to support Ukraine, to do more, and to save lives."
According to Nina Horbachova, Director of the Foundation, donations will be spent on reconstructing the Izium Central City Hospital, the largest and most important medical institution in the Kharkiv region.
"The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is getting increasingly complicated in the face of winter. Due to constant shellings, blackouts, and infrastructure damages, thousands of Ukrainians in the deoccupied territories live on the verge of a humanitarian disaster. They need our urgent support. And I am happy that our presentation in Paris back in December changed the perception from "rebuilding after Ukraine wins" to "rebuilding now". "We express our deepest gratitude to Bernard-Henri Lévy and all partners who lend a helping hand," said Horbachova.
Before the full-scale invasion, the Izium Central City Hospital, for which the Foundation collects funds, served almost 150,000 citizens. Nearly 550 specialists worked there.
Now a significant part of the hospital has been destroyed. The facility is operating at 10% capacity. But it is the only hospital within a radius of 120 km, so it needs the quickest restoration possible. The tomograph, intensive care unit, and four operating units were destroyed throughout the occupation, and the elevator shaft was damaged. All of the premises' windows were broken, and the walls had traces of shrapnel hits.
Doctors continue to save more patients' lives and health despite the destruction. In addition to chronic and seasonal diseases aggravated by the lack of heat and light, people also get complex injuries from "petal" mines.
Now one of the Foundation's priorities is helping people in the most war-affected regions of Ukraine. Therefore, the Foundation keeps communicating and engaging international partners in the projects.
The Olena Zelenska Foundation is a humanitarian initiative of the First Lady of Ukraine aimed at attracting foreign investment to restore and improve the lives of people in Ukraine, thanks to the support of partners and foundations from allied countries. Founded by Olena Zelenska this past summer of 2022, the Foundation raises funds for specific medical, educational, and humanitarian projects.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher, filmmaker, public intellectual, and the author of 45 books and seven films. He has traveled to Ukraine countless times since the Maidan Revolution in 2014, and has been on the ground, alongside the Ukrainians, in solidarity since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.