I am Marc Wilkins, a film director from Switzerland.
I moved to Kyiv 6 years ago from New York, via Berlin. Fascinated by the creative, curious people and a vibrant society, Ukraine has become my adopted home. On February 24, I woke up to bombs being fired at Kyiv. Now I find myself in the center of a war.
Deeply shocked, I fled to Lviv, in the west of Ukraine.
But the warmth, the courage, and the support that people are giving each other during this time gives me hope. As a filmmaker, I want to help these peoples’ stories be heard and their wishes realized. With #u4ukraine, we are bringing people outside of the Ukraine closer to the stories of some of these impressive people. Each of them is doing heroic things to save lives and help alleviate suffering. By supporting these role models, we give hope to an entire community. We give them the assurance that they are not alone. With each donation, they receive uncomplicated direct aid within 48 hours.
About Marc Wilkins
Born in 1976 in Bern, Switzerland.
Marc holds Swiss and British citizenship. From 1996-99 he worked as a production assistant and video operator at Constantin Film, Bavaria Film and Olga Film in Munich. Since 1999 he has been directing commercials and feature films himself. In 2016 he moved to Ukraine and has been living there with his partner ever since. In 2017 he won the Swiss Film Award in the category "Best Short Film" for "Bon Voyage". His latest feature film "The Saint of Impossible" premiered in 2021 and has since made positive headlines at various film festivals around the world.
The form of the films
The portraits are prepared as short mini-documentaries of approx. 90s. No advertising. No self-promotion. No propaganda. Just touching experiences of strong-willed, courageous people. The focus is on the people and their stories, rather than on shocking images. The videos are produced in English with German subtitles.
#u4ukraine plans to publish videos on a regular basis. Currently, 11 more such portraits are being planned or implemented.
The call for donations is made at the end of each film with a link to the donation page. Since the characters need monetary help immediately, Paypal was chosen as the most proven and fastest donation option. The money is then transferred via the Swiss charity Citydogs4Streetdogs by one of Stories AG co-owners. This will be done free of charge with all payments made directly and in full amount to the portrayed persons in the short films. No organizational or production expenses are to be accounted for. This way direct help can be guaranteed within 48 hours. In addition, the donations are tax deductible thanks to the cooperation with Swiss Charity. Paypal is not a partner of this action and has no knowledge of this project.
The URL to the Paypal donation page is: https://u4ukraine.com/
The project was developed with the help of Stories AG in Zurich from the simple idea: how can we, as commercial filmmakers from Switzerland, make a contribution? By making films of course! Since the beginning of the idea, various supporters have joined:
Idea & Direction: Marc Wilkins & stories AG
Strategy & Concept: stories AG, Nadine Geissbühler (Graphic Design), Peter Brönnimann (Copy Writing)
Edit: Dennis Gnoni Visconti, Alessandro Biffi, Marcelo Alves, Marko Strihic, Céline Bindy, Wolfgang Weigl und Tobias Fueter, Alexander Legostaev, Florian Leitl, Will Howard, Celeste Berdinner
Music & Mix: Adrian Frutiger
Mastering: Edoardo Moruzzi (Head of Post Production), Céline Bindy, Kevin Vogel, Celeste Berdinner
Website: Dept.: Severin Klaus (Website)
Distribution: 20 Minuten (Release Partner), Nadine Friedel (Instagram), Raphael Oppenheim (Stailamedia), Natalie Akinola (Picstars.com), Cédric Marville (Media Relations), Eva Schönemeier (Twitter), Bertrand Finckler (Fintrans, Translations)
Social Media: Andy Was Right: Roger Haemmerli, Leo Wehrli, Stephanie Felder, Tatjana Streit and the whole team
All partners are working pro bono. Stories AG has no influence on the money flow of the donations and does not enrich itself in this campaign.