our introduction video
Who we are and what we do, in under 3 minutes..
or if you prefer to read:
Hi, my name is Reece and I'm a British Filmmaker. Earlier this year I drove my car from the UK to Eastern Ukraine, with the intent of making a documentary about the ongoing war in the region. When I first arrived here, I was shocked to discover how active this war still was, with ceasefire violations, injuries and even casualties still occurring. There was a clear lack of english-speaking content being produced in the region, despite the interest and demand for it. Therefore I started First Focus as a self-funded, independent, English-Speaking outlet to begin plugging the information gap, documenting events as they happen, and to share the stories of the many different people affected by this war, to stop this pivotal moment in Ukraine's history being swept under the carpet. I was able to recruit a local named Eugen to the cause, and now it's the two of us working out here on the frontline.
We're producing a range of videos in our effort to help keep attention on this war. The most regular is the 'Weekly Update Video', which is a short video that comes out every Monday and details the significant events of the week before. These have proven popular and have helped us build a steady audience. Alongside that, we also produce documentaries, some short, some long, to focus on specific issues we encounter. Our first documentary stepped back from war and focussed on the terrible ecology here in Eastern Ukraine, while our second one told the emotional story of three internally displaced people who escaped Shyrokyne. If you haven't seen any of our work, I recommend starting with it, as I believe it's the most important story we've found. We also occasionally make short, stand alone videos, sometimes sharing certain interviews, or documenting frontline villages, usually with interviews from the people who live there. All of our videos go on Youtube, to ensure they can reach and inform as many people as possible.
The question we get asked the most.. why? The answer is simple, because I wanted to know more about this war and in the UK I was unable to find enough current and reliable information. Now that I'm here in Ukraine and witness events for myself, I want to make sure it's accessible for anyone else in the west who wants to better inform themselves. As I said before, I believe Ukraine is a pivotal point in its history as it moves slowly closer to Europe. Ukraine might well be part of the EU or Nato in 20 years, and I don't want the world to look back and forget at just how hard and turbulent that journey has been for the people in this region. A lot of the people here are powerless in their situation, but we can at least make sure their voices are heard.
Meet the team
Reece studied filmmaking at Manchester School of Art and then moved to London to begin a career in commercials and music videos, signing with Callbox.
His interest in military and conflict often kept Ukraine in his mind, and he eventually decided to drive from the UK to Donbas to make a documentary, and see for himself the situation on the ground.
Shorty after he arrived, he started First Focus, with the idea to finish not only the documentary, but to tell many of the stories from the region and provide fresh, on-the-ground intel in English, for a western audience.
Reece enjoys the cinema, trips to the pub, history, hiking, and travelling.
Eugen was born and raised in Mariupol, Ukraine and went on to study logistics in Kharkiv. Upon graduation he worked as a professional interpreter and after moving back to Mariupol he began work as a project manager in a start-up IT company. Shortly after he met Reece through a mutual friend, and joined First Focus full time.
Eugen enjoys surfing, playing guitar, shooting and travelling.
Alice- Social Media
Alice studied Media, Culture & Society at Manchester Metropolitan University, which helped develop her interest in different aspects of social media. She is currently working within the finance sector and is playing a key role as the UK based member of the team, providing external support, and also keeps on top of the socials and emails when the Ukraine team are out of contact on the frontline.
Alice enjoys gigs, festivals, travelling and fashion.