A new documentary film, created by Swedish journalist Elin Jonsson tells the story of how Jamala’s “1944” was formed and its journey to victory in Stockholm, but it also tells the story of Crimea, and the faith Crimean Tatars faced in 1944.
When Eurovision fans first heard the song 1944 there were a few raised eyebrows. Many praised the unusual style of the song while others dismissed the song as it was deemed too political for the contest. Despite people’s concerns, the song was given the thumbs up by the EBU and was granted permission to stay in the contest.
Even more were raised when despite neither winning the jury or the public vote, Jamala had won by an overall majority and was declared the victor for the 2016 contest in Sweden. Now the song and the singer star in a new documentary, Боротьба Джамали (Jamala’s Struggle).
As well as reliving the joyful events of 2016, the film shows how people are living in Crimea today additionally to the conditions that the Crimean Tatars faced in 1944 when they were deported from their homeland by Stalin. It also tells the story of how the world learned about the more recent Russian intervention in Crimea when the region was annexed in 2014.
The documentary was presented at the Kyiv Crimean House where both Jamala and Elin Jonsson were present. Speaking about the film after the event, Jamala said “I am very pleased to have shot such a wonderful film. But I used to say that it was early to devote myself to films. I’m just trying to do something. As for the work itself, Elin was a very inquisitive journalist and she showed everything and told me everything. She was able to show not only my victory, but the way to it, the motivation of my desire to win“.
When asked if she was going to follow in the footsteps of former Eurovision participants Ruslana and Zlata Ognevich and get involved in politics, Jamala rebuffed these saying “As you can see, I’m still not a deputy and not a politician, and I’m not going to be one. All my plans are related to creativity, with music. So I’m waiting for everyone at my concerts, I’ll sing for you“.
Director Elin Jonsson plans to send the film to the international festival of documentary films.
You can remind yourself of the song for the performance of 1944 at the grand final by watching the video below.