Screening of the documentary film A Struggle for Home: The Crimean Tatars

DATE: Thursday, 2 February 2017 TIME: 5:00 - 6:20 pm VENUE: Telus Centre 134, UofA

04 January 2017

For hundreds of years, Crimea was home to the Crimean Tatars, a Muslim-Turkic people. They were the masters of the land, the indigenous population. But that all changed when the Russian Empire conquered the peninsula in 1783.

Since then, the Tatars have struggled to reclaim their home from Russian domination. In the process, they have suffered ethnic and religious persecution, including a Soviet genocide that saw their entire population forcibly and brutally deported from Crimea to Central Asia in 1944. When the Soviet Union collapsed, many Tatars thought they finally would be free and secure in their homeland. But in February 2014, those dreams were dashed when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded and re-annexed the peninsula.

This documentary film tells the little-known story of the Crimean Tatars. It features interviews with Crimean residents, historians, survivors of the 1944 deportation, Russian nationalists, and Tatar activists, including Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people.

The film recounts the rich and often tragic history of the Tatars, from ancient times to today. It is a story of betrayal, courage and, above all, hope. For despite all that they have faced, the Crimean Tatars remain undaunted in their struggle for freedom.

Christina M. Paschyn, MS and MA, is a multimedia journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She has reported for major news organizations across the globe, including the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, in London, E News in Johannesburg and KVRR-TV as the station's congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C. She delivered live shots and interviews about the rocket strikes on Be'er Sheva during the 2009 Israel-Gaza War for multiple news outlets, including WEWS News Channel 5 in Cleveland. Her video work has appeared on CNN and Euronews and her writing has been published in The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Women's eNews, Chime for Change, Al-Fanar Media, THINK. Magazine, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Cosmopolitan Middle East and the Chicago Journal, among other publications.

In fall 2015, she completed her first feature-length documentary film, "A Struggle for Home: The Crimean Tatars." The film chronicles the rich and often tragic history of the Crimean Tatar people, the Muslim-Turkic indigenous population of the Crimean Peninsula, from ancient times to the aftermath of the 2014 Russian annexation of the peninsula. It premiered at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival in November 2015 and has since played in several other film festivals and professional venues, including the European Parliament in Brussels and the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C. It has won several awards, including Best International Film at the DC Independent Film Festival in March 2016, Best Documentary at the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival in April 2016, and 1st place Short Foreign Documentary at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival in August 2016.

In her work as a journalist, Paschyn has covered a variety of under-reported issues such as Qatari women's education and employment, education policies in the GCC, deteriorating press freedom in Ukraine, net neutrality, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster anniversary and its relevance to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Paschyn earned a MA in Middle East Studies from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar. There, she volunteered as a video producer for Step Forward, an NGO working to empower the Bedouin population in the city of Rahat. Paschyn also earned a BS and a MS in broadcast journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University through its Accelerated Master's Degree Program. Paschyn also speaks Ukrainian and is studying Arabic.

iWeek 2017: Sessions sponsored by CIUS