VUFKU (All-Ukrainian Photo Cinema Administration) existed for less than nine years (1922-1930), but it managed to release over 140 fiction films, several hundreds of non-fiction films and newsreels, dozens of animations, gain the fame of “Ukrainian Hollywood”, and take under its control all aspects of the cinematic process – filmmaking, distribution, film press, propaganda, and education.
From over 140 full-length fiction films made by VUFKU, about 60 films are considered lost. A lot of the surviving films have come down to us incomplete (without one or more parts).
Economic success, cultural autonomy, and inclusive HR policies allowed VUFKU to involve the brightest artists, directors, cameramen, scriptwriters, critics of its time and become an international platform for many interdisciplinary experiments.
There were Dziga Vertov, Mikhail Kaufman, Oleskandr Dovzhenko, Ivan Kavaleridze, Vasyl Krychevskyi, Danylo Demutskyi, Petro Chardynin, Les Kurbas, Mykhail Semenko, Yurko Tiutiunnyk, and Yurii Yanovskyi among them.
After 1929, curbs, charges of bourgeois nationalism, formalism, and other unacceptable «perversions» led to the subordination of independent VUFKU to the all-union enterprise Soyuzkino and its transformation into a regional branch. In the following years, many of VUFKU representatives were repressed, physically exterminated, and those, who managed to immigrate, integrated themselves into film industries of other countries and became a part of their history.
Since then, the attributives «Soviet» and «Russian» became synonyms for a long time, and the vast majority of Ukrainian film heritage was taken to Moscow, and the best works of Ukrainian cinema of that time were included in the world circulation as «Russian avant-garde».
The search of the lost film treasures of the 1920s and their inclusion in the scientific circulation is important both as such and as a method of finding the European and urban identity of Ukrainian culture and restoring historical memory.