Along with cinematography, cartoon production has been developing in Ukraine over the years – and some of the most successful pieces were released internationally. Those are stories about exciting adventures, unbreakable courage, strong friendship, and true love. With some kind of Ukrainian spin, of course.
Here is a selection of four modern and one classic Ukrainian animation movies you will enjoy.
Eneida is considered the first full-length cartoon, released in Ukraine since 1991. It is based on the eponymous narrative poetry by Ivan Kotliarevskyi. Ukrainian writer reimagined a classic piece of Roman literature – Aeneid by Virgil, in an ironic way with Ukrainian Cossacks in all the main roles. Roman history and mythology gets combined with Ukrainian spirit and humor to create a story, beloved by many generations.
Watch on YouTube.
The Dragon Spell (Mykyta Kozhumiaka), 2016
The story tells about the adventures of a young Mykyta (or Nicky) who wants to be just like his father – a famous strongman and dragon hunter. So when the old threat may arise upon the world again, Mykyta sneaks to test his strength in a fight with a dangerous dragon and finds many adventures on the way. But the outcome of those events, as well as his chances to successfully return home from the fantasy world, will depend more on his courage and bravery than his physical strength.
Watch on Apple TV.
The Little Dragon, 2019
A heart-warming story about the adventures of a girl named Clara in the magical world where wizards, dwarves, and dragons exist. Clara comes across a little dragon with abilities, supernatural even for this world. She goes on a journey with the friends to protect the baby dragon from the evil forces and to return him home – to the city of Dragons. But also, to find some answers about Clara’s own past along the way.
Watch on Amazon Prime.
The events of this animated dystopia unfold in the distant future when an artificial star suddenly goes dark. Victoria arrives there with her parents to find her grandfather, the creator of this technology, and repair the Iron Star. On the exciting journey that lies ahead, she’ll be accompanied by Victor: a tiny robot who was supposed to work among the others in the depth of the star but lost a gear – and gained the ability to act at his own discretion.
Watch on Takflix (in Ukrainian). A Ukrainian streaming service also offers a variety of short animation films different in styles and topics.
Mavka. The Forest Song, 2022
The story is based on a classical piece by Ukrainian poetess Lesia Ukrainka that incorporates many elements from Slavic myths and legends. Mavka is a beautiful spirit who along with other magical creatures protects the forest. The old ways are disturbed when a human comes to their home. When Mavka meets Lukas, she opens her heart to him and his music. But can they be together when others from the human world are determined to harm the forest?
Mavka. The Forest Song premiered in Ukraine on March 2, 2023, and has become the highest-grossing Ukrainian film. For now, available only in cinemas. Mavka will have a worldwide theatrical release in more than 80 countries in 2023.