Note of Defiance

Filmed in early 2023, on the Ukrainian-Russian border, this short documentary explores two artists' use of their creativity and art as a means of cultural survival and defiance.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine; attacks on civilian centres have forced cultural sites to close. The Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the biggest cultural sites in the city forced to close due to these attacks.

Two inspiring artists move continue to provide concerts and lessons anywhere they can; from parking garages to bomb shelters.

Through powerful interviews, we learn of the unique challenges artists have faced during this conflict. From censorship and persecution, to displacement and trauma. The film concludes with emotional performance, where two disciplines of violin and dance are brought together in the theatre for the first time in nearly a year.

  • Brian Henderson
  • Brian Henderson
  • Dan Borrelli
  • Brian Henderson
  • Dan Borrelli
  • Holly Adams
  • Meredith Rodriguez
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    90,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Rhode Island International Film Festival
    Providence, Rhode Island
    United States
    August 7, 2023
    World Premiere
    Grand Prize- Best Short Documentary
Director Biography - Brian Henderson

Brian Henderson, an accomplished filmmaker from Green Bay, WI, discovered his passion for visual storytelling at Columbia College Chicago. For over a decade, he showcased his exceptional talent as a cinematographer, crafting poignant moments and compelling narratives in commercial and documentary projects.

In 2017, Brian's remarkable work earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Journalism for “The Dictator's Team," a gripping portrayal of the Syrian National Soccer team's struggles under the oppressive Assad regime.

RIIFF featured his narrative short "Away From It All" in 2021, but now the festival eagerly presents his directorial debut, "Note of Defiance," a documentary short.

Brian's artistry goes beyond filmmaking, as he collaborated with non-profits like Build a City, Loss 2 Life, Rainforest Trust, and Mission Kharkiv, using his craft to shed light on vital social and environmental issues, reflecting his commitment to making a positive global impact.

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