Article: UK cinemas unite in support of Ukraine with nationwide previews of Olga

These screenings, backed by the BFI and 606 Distribution, will see UK cinemas donate profits to charities supporting Ukraine

UK cinemas are uniting in support of Ukraine with a series of preview charity screenings of Olga, a new film about a young female Ukrainian gymnast forced to train in exile. From each ticket sold, a donation will be made to support Ukraine via the Disasters Emergency Committee. The previews are a result of a partnership with 606 Distribution and the BFI, with support from the UK Cinema Association. 

Olga is the directorial debut of Elie Grappe and held its World Premiere in International Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 where it won the SACD Award. The film received its UK Premiere as part of the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this week.

The preview screenings will be taking place in over 200 cinemas nationwide from Friday 18th March, with more cinemas joining the initiative each day. Participating cinemas include Cineworld, Curzon, Everyman, Odeon, Picturehouse and Vue chains, as well as the independent venues which make up the members and lead organisations of the BFI Film Audience Network. The BFI is working with 606 Distribution to coordinate the previews, as well as providing additional marketing support.

Olga tells the story of a 15-year-old Ukrainian gymnast, training for the European Championship in preparation for the Olympics, who is forced to move to Switzerland from her home in Kyiv where her mother works as an investigative journalist reporting on the Euromaidan protests. Lead actress Anastasiia Budiashkina is a former member of Ukraine’s national gymnastics team. 

Olga‘s lead actress, Anastasia Budiashkina, arrived in Poland on Monday after leaving Kharkiv in Ukraine to escape the war. She says: “I am very glad that Olga will be seen in the UK, and people will see the situation going on with Ukraine. Everyone involved with Olga worked very hard, and I put a part of myself into the film. I hope everyone will enjoy Olga.”

Pat Kelman, Director of 606 Distribution, says: “I planned to release Olga in the late Spring, but the invasion of Ukraine made me very nervous about releasing the film at all. When Watershed Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove mentioned that venues were looking for a way to show support for Ukrainians, I realised that this very human and dramatic film set against the Ukraine 2013 Maidan Revolution could now resonate and connect with UK audiences in a meaningful way.

“Once word started to spread, it became clear that 606 needed help to make this event happen. I am hugely grateful to BFI Distribution for coming in and supplying this technical and marketing assistance.

“I am overwhelmed by the massive support the film distribution and exhibition community are showing for this project, and I hope we see full houses across the nation in support of Ukraine and Ukrainians.”

Jason Wood, Director of Public Programmes at the BFI, says: “We are all witnessing a horrifying situation unfold, but film has the power to unite people and inspire empathy across cultures. I’m really proud that the UK’s film exhibition and distribution community and colleagues across the BFI have come together to bring Olga to as many UK cinemas – and audiences – as possible, giving us a perspective on Ukrainian life, telling a Ukrainian story and actively supporting the people of Ukraine through this special film.”

Olga is produced by Point Prod, Cinema Defacto and Pulsar Content, with the support of Swiss Film.

Further information, including your nearest participating cinema, can be found by going to

Please direct all booking enquiries to

+ 606 Distribution

About 606 Distribution

Founded in 2018 by Pat Kelman and David Maddison, and named after their regular hotel room at the Cannes Film Festival, 606 Distribution is dedicated to finding and releasing films with a powerful, empathetic emotional impact. It’s always about the gut reaction for 606! Previous releases include Hannah, Styx, Perfect 10 and System Crasher. 606 runs from Pat Kelman’s home office in Mevagissey, Cornwall.

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