Skip to content

Ukraine Is Not A Brothel – SXSW 2014 Accepted Film

Ukraine’s Femen is a topless protest movement, taking a literal ‘in your face’ approach to address the exploitation of women that’s taken place in their country for decades. Stating that 99% of Ukraine women don’t know what feminism is, their aim  is to turn that statistic on its head.

“We protest against patriarch in all it’s forms,” one of the women states within the film’s trailer, as her body is used as a human picket sign with messages of their movement, “against anything that infringes upon the rights of women.” This includes their country being thought of as hub for mail order brides and the sex trade.

“Ukraine Is Not A Brothel” is directed by Kitty Green, an Australian filmmaker, and during the making of the film both the women in front of the camera and her behind it, capturing their story, have made great sacrafices, sometimes putting themselves in danger for their lives.

In December of 2011, Green was filming a protest in Minsk when she and the Ukrainian protesters were abducted by the KGB. While Green and three other Belarusian female journalists were interrogated at the KGB office, three of the Femen women were seized at the Minsk train station.

According to the article that appeared on, the three were reportedly “blindfolded and taken to a forest where they were forced to strip naked. The KGB agents then doused them in petrol and threatened to set the women on fire, before using knives to cut off their hair. The women were then abandoned without their passports, clothes or money in the forest…They walked to a nearby village to seek help.”

Having ties to the Ukraine through her grandmother, Green’s inspiration for filming this movement was a visit she made after leaving her position at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Femen has garnered a fury of media and public attention across Europe, and after reading about an upcoming protest, she showed up with many others to watch their activism live.


“I arrived at the square with my DSLR, found my place amongst the flurry of press and onlookers, and chased these gorgeous girls as they were dragged away kicking and screaming by the Ukrainian security forces. After filming one protest, I was hooked.”

“Ukraine is Not A Brothel” was completed and premiered in 2012 and since then, it’s definitely raised awareness of the exploitation of women. It has, according to Green, “…had a powerful effect on the youth in Ukraine. Feminism is no longer a dirty word. Protest is no longer a dirty word.  Whether people love them or hate them, Femen provoke debate and, in doing so, play an important role in politicizing the youth in Ukraine.”

The film’s SXSW screening details are yet to be determined. This article will be update upon the release by SXSW of those dates and times. Follow us on Twitter at @KaffeineBuzz to stay on top of the latest SXSW news.


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox