Alisa Kovalenko

Ukraine, France, Poland, 2018 / 86 min / Russian and Ukrainian OV with English subt. (RU & UA OV with EN subt.) / Documentary

Director Alisa Kovalenko will be in attendance

A promising female footballer faces her biggest struggles off the field.

Twenty-year-old Alina is passionate about football, practising in worn-out kits that she’s sewn back together herself. She plays for Kiev’s only women's club in the premier league and hopes to join Ukraine's national team. But her duties at home prevent her from fully dedicating herself to sports: with her addict stepfather spending his child support money on alcohol and her mother never in any state to help, Alina has to shoulder the responsibility for her younger half-brother and half-sister. There’s never any cash, and they all live together in a shabby, cramped apartment in Kiev. When the family is hit by a cruel stroke of fate, Alina is faced with the dilemma of choosing between football and her family’s needs.

Home Games is a film about making one's dreams come true when the odds are stacked against you.

“I don't want to say too much about Home Games, I prefer to let people find out as they watch it, but I will say that it is a sad film full of light and hope. Our team refers to it as "the dented fairy tale". It's important to me because it's a film about the little people. My generation started its revolution in 2014 to change our country and make it a better place to live. For that, we pay a high price because our neighbour has decided to inflict a war on us. People like my heroine, Alina, don't go to war, but their daily life is a war, a fight for survival. These people are forgotten in our society, I want to give them the light they deserve. I want my cinema to be social, realistic, but also poetic. I would like to show that there is always hope, even when the light seems to have gone out. Home Games is a very Ukrainian film about girls playing football, but it also describes the state of our society.” Director’s statement by Alisa Kovalenko


Fri 08/03 10:30 Kinepolis Kirchberg RU & UA OV with EN subt. Public
Thu 14/03 16:30 Cinémathèque RU & UA OV with EN subt. Public
Fri 15/03 20:30 Ciné Utopia RU & UA OV with EN subt. Public

“While also focusing on a talented player, who dreams of making it into the national team, the young Ukrainian director seems to be more interested in what happens to her character after the bruises have healed and the game is over. That’s probably because that’s the only time when the strong, direct Alina seems to be losing control.” Marta Bałaga, Cineuropa, 19/07/2018

  • Best European Documentary Award, Odessa International Film Festival, 2018 (Ukraine)
  • Golden Leaf – Best World Documentary, Duhok International Film Festival, 2018 (Iraqi Kurdistan)
  • Grand Prix – Best Documentary, Listapad Minsk International Film Festival, 2018 (Belarus)
Cast & Credits
Alisa Kovalenko
Serhiy Stefan Stetsenko, Alisa Kovalenko
Dmytro Skrypka
Orianne Marsilli aka Ladylike Lily
East Roads Films, Studio Garmata Film, DocEdu Foundation, Telewizja Polska

Alisa Kovalenko is an award-winning director, born in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, in 1987. After studying journalism, she graduated from the Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University of Kiev, specialising in documentary cinema. She also studied at the Andrzej-Wajda cinema school in Warsaw, under the guidance of Marcel Łoziński, one of the masters of Polish documentary cinema. Her debut documentary Sister Zo (2014) was shown in several festivals. Alisa was caught up in the turmoil of the Ukrainian revolution in 2014 and the subsequent war in Eastern Ukraine. These events took her from the barricades of Maidan to the toughest battle of the war at Donetsk airport. Her second feature documentary, Alisa in Warland (2015), deals with these bloody events and the tension between observing through a camera lens and getting involved as a participant. It premiered at IDFA in Amsterdam and has subsequently been featured in over 60 festivals, winning awards in Paris, Agadir and Mexico. Home Games (2018) is her third feature.

  • 2018 – Home Games (documentary)
  • 2015 – Alisa in Warland (documentary)
  • 2014 – Sister Zo (documentary)