August 25, 2017

New documentary focuses on Sudbury community activist

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Ukrainian Canadian community activist Wasyl (Bill) Kuryliw is the subject of a new documentary.

Kuryliw Collection

Ukrainian Canadian community activist Wasyl (Bill) Kuryliw is the subject of a new documentary.

TORONTO – Wasyl (Bill) Kuryliw was one of the most vividly remembered leaders of the Ukrainian Canadian community in Sudbury, Ontario. A new documentary, “Chapters and Verses: Action Bill’s Walk Through Life,” about his life will premiere on September 12, in Toronto at the Spadina Theater at Alliance Française de Toronto.

The film is directed by his daughter, Oksana Kuryliw, and produced by her and her husband, John Leeson.

Using archival video, audio and photographs, as well as interviews with those who remember him, the film tells the story of a man whose energy, dedication and positive attitude made an indelible mark on the Ukrainian community in Sudbury for almost 70 years.

In April of this year, excerpts from the documentary were shown at the opening of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada – Ontario Branch’s exhibit “Trunk Tales: Leaving Home… Finding Home,” which chronicled waves of Ukrainian immigration to Canada.

Orest Sushko, director of the documentary “Music of Survival: The Story of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus” says the Kuryliw film “provides a timeless tribute to our previous generations and an enriching narrative to present to our community.”

Filmmaker Oksana Kuryliw.

John Leeson

Filmmaker Oksana Kuryliw.

More screenings will be scheduled later this fall. For more information and a trailer, readers may visit

The film is funded in part by the following organizations: The Olzhych Foundation; Shevchenko Foundation, Temerty Family Foundation Community Development Fund; SUS Foundation of Canada; Ukrainian Credit Union Limited; and The Ukrainian National Federation Foundation.

About Wasyl Kuryliw

Wasyl Kuryliw came to Canada from the village of Potochysche in western Ukraine in 1928 at the age of 18 with $5, a Grade 3 education and a powerful zest for life.

His unflagging energy and dedication to promoting Ukrainian organizations and culture earned him the nickname “Action Bill.” He was a founder of the Ukrainian National Federation’s Sudbury branch, as well as the Sudbury Ukrainian Credit Union. A self-taught musician on many instruments, he is also well remembered for his recitations of the poems of Ivan Franko at any community event he attended.

One of his lasting contributions was establishing the Wasyl and Anna Kuryliw Family Fund Ivan Franko Scholarships in Ukrainian folklore at the University of Alberta in 1988.

The Spadina Theatre at Alliançe Française de Toronto
is located at 24 Spadina Road. The film screening is set for Tuesday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. For more information readers may e-mail

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