Private Project

Women who held flowers

Director: Ksenia Svetlova

During the summer of 2020 Belarus had erupted with protests. Thousands of men and women had flooded the streets of Minsk, Grodno and other cities and villages in demand of change and reform. As protests were crushed and the men were arrested, the women of Belarus decided to took charge. Dressed in white and red, or sometimes just white – the colors of the national flag that is now deemed unlawful in Belarus, these women organized human chains, sit-ins and performances and refused to leave, even when beaten, harassed and jailed. “We replaced our husbands, brothers and fathers. It was our duty” said both leaders and ordinary Belarusians who risked their health, jobs, security and even lives and demanded freedom.

Women who held flowers is developed and authored by Ksenia Svetlova, an Israeli journalist and an ex-member of Knesset, who covered the Middle East extensively since the beginning of the 2000-s. It covers the origins of Belarusian revolution and shows how the women of Belarus were able to organize, politically and socially in order to fight for the future of their country.

Ksenia Svetlova had covered mass protests and revolutions many time – in Beirut during the Cedar’s spring, in Cairo and in Tunis in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Born in Russia, she also followed closely the situation in post-Soviet republics, such as Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus. In August, 2020, when Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko had declared that he had gained more then 80% of the votes and the peaceful and colorful protests in Belarus were violently crushed, she knew she would make a movie about the women in Belarussian protests. Svetlova had published an article in Israeli “Zman Israel” website called “Women who hold the flowers” and started working on developing the frame for her future documentary.

In March Svetlova and her film crew had landed in Minsk, taking the risk of being harassed or jailed, as happened to many other foreign reports and filmmakers.. During a few days they were interviewing the participants of the protests and political activists about their experiences during the demonstration, in jails and in courts, about threats they received -such as treat to take away their children. If the crew would be caught by the police or the OMON forces, they could end up in jail just as well.
From Minsk the team drove to Vilnus to meet the president-elect, Svetlana Tichanovskaya for an exclusive interview about her unexpected political career, fear, tears and hope. Then the team left for Riga where they met Veronika Tzepkalo, another iconic figure from the “Belorussian trio” (a third one is Maria Kolesnikova, a famous political activist and a musician who is now in jail).
“Women who held flowers” tells a story of a protest movement through women’s eyes. It allows the viewer to look inside the very soul of Belarus and to witness the incredible change that it is going though.

  • Michael Veksel
  • Ksenia Svetlova
  • Roman Kovgan
  • Yuri Boroda
  • Vlad Kartush
  • Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
    Key Cast
  • Veronika Tsepkalo
    Key Cast
  • Valery Tsepkalo
    Key Cast
  • Nina Baginskaya
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    45 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 31, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    200,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania
  • Language:
    English, Russian
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Premiere
    Tel Aviv
    February 11, 2022
    Israeli Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Takarek
    Country: Hungary
    Rights: All Rights
Director - Michael Veksel