Alongside the plethora of musical endeavours from Mr Bongo, we've long been enveloped in the world of global cinema. Our film catalogue includes works by esteemed directors including Welles, Scorsese, Coppola, Has, Bertolucci, Rocha and Dovzhenko. In keeping with the record label philosophy – we aim to unearth iconic, stylish, hard-to-find gems & cult classics and make them readily available.
For this project, however, we're teaming up with Ukrainian volunteer Tania Khuk to take a dive into contemporary cinema, by presenting a London screening of the Ukrainian documentary 'Breaking into Baikonur' in aid of Ukrainian grassroots charities Helping To Leave and Kyiv Volunteer, at Bethnal Green's Genesis cinema.
The film documents Ukrainian researchers Dmitri Gromov and cameraman Angel Angelov as they cross the Kazakhstan desert to reach the classified territory of Cosmodrome Baikonur to watch the launch of the Soyuz space rocket. Risking their lives, the pair suffer with dehydration, starvation, physical and psychological exhaustion on their journey, as well as the threat of being taken to jail if found by the Russian militaries. As a renowned military object, Baikonur was the first and the largest space station in the world, which had become one of the key symbols of the Soviet-American space race during the Cold War. This unique footage tracks the journey of this illegal trespass for the duo, whilst exploring the history of this spaceport and the deeply personal experience of this expedition for the Ukrainian protagonist.
Following the films screening we will be showing a Q&A with Angel.
A selection of Mr Bongo records, merchandise and wares from our partners will be available for sale in the bar following the screening. All proceeds will go toward humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
More about the charities:
Kyiv Volunteer was founded by 30 local restaurants, cafes and 3 bakeries. More than 500 volunteers are involved in the charity. The organisations funds go toward urgent requests for humanitarian aide for people in recently liberated territories, and on improving the quality of life for internally displaced people.
Their current projects include a bakery business study program for internally displaced persons in Kyiv, requests from the Ukrainian military for warm clothes and warm-up equipment, and "Kids for kids", a project that allows children who are now far from the war to put their peace and care in a box and send it to their peers in Ukraine. For Christmas and New Year, Kyiv Volunteers received more than 2500 presents and gave them to internally displaced kids, orphanages, and children's hospitals. The next round is gifts for Easter and Children's Day.
Helping to Leave:
Helping to Leave provides help with evacuation from temporarily occupied territories to safe regions of Ukraine or Europe. They need financial help to provide a mobile and internet network as well as heating equipment for several villages in the Kharkiv region.
Within the first few weeks of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Helping to Leave team set up a network of volunteers and the tech infrastructure required to manage information flow. Now, 350+ volunteers are helping around 1000 people every day. They use AI systems to ensure datasets reflect reality on the ground.
1st March 2023
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