The Odesa Film Industry Office presents its awards
by Vassilis Economou
- The industry section of the 8th OIFF explored the possibilities of Ukrainian production in four full days of panel discussions, events and pitching sessions
With one of the busiest and most packed schedules ever, the Film Industry Office of the 8th Odesa International Film Festival drew to a close after four rich days of events (18 – 21 July) held at the historical Odessa Film Studio, attracting both Ukrainian and foreign film professionals.
The programme included multiple panels on topics affecting current market trends, with a special focus on the Ukrainian industry. Indicatively, some of the subjects discussed were: the possibilities that Creative Europe program MEDIA can offer to Ukrainian cinema; opportunities for co-production with the Baltic Countries and the role of independent film festivals in social discourse (read more). Over these days, three of the most important carriers of Ukrainian cinema, the Ukrainian Film Academy, the Film Industry Association and the State Film Agency, also gave their annual presentations.
In parallel to the panels and the discussions, the Film Industry Office introduced a series of pitching sessions and competitions.
In the first ever Odesa IFF ScripTeast Series project, five drama series projects aimed at an international audience, from showrunners of Eastern and Central European origin, held a competitive pitching session. The winning project was Accursed Mountains (Croatia) by Dorotea Vučić and Višna Mamić. The series focuses on a female attorney who succeeds in bringing a war criminal to a trial, but he then mysteriously disappears on his way to the Hague. While she deals with judgment from the public and her male colleagues, the accused general finds himself in a village ruled by women in the Accursed Mountains, where men are treated like slaves. The project received a post-production service package amounting to $10,000 from Ukrainian company Star Media.
The Pitching session, a competition of Ukrainian feature film and co-production projects, gave the opportunity to 11 projects to be presented to an international jury of film professionals. Two projects were chosen for the award of 60,000 UAH (€2,000) provided by investment and development company UDP. They were The Floor is Lava by Kateryna Gornostai, produced by Gennady Kofman and Vitaliy Sheremetiev, a coming-of-age story of 16 year-old Masha, who wants to reach beyond the boundaries of the world and back again, and My Thoughts Are Quiet by Antonio Lukich, produced by Alla Belaya, which focuses on 22-year-old Vadim, a sound engineer who is translocating to Canada. Before his departure, he’s assigned to record the voice of a very rare bird, which lives only in the Transcarpathian mountains of Ukraine. This simple task will become pivotal for him and his future life.
The final competition section included work in progress presentations of Ukrainian feature films and co-productions in the final stages of production. Out of 11 participant projects presented, the jury awarded Volcano [+see also:
interview: Roman Bondarchuk
film profile] by Roman Bondarchuk, produced by Olena Yershova, Dar'ya Averchenko and Tanja Georgieva. The film follows Lukas, a translator who works for the OECD and moves to a southern Ukrainian town. There he is faced with a totally new world in which life seems to completely lack any kind of structure. The winning prize was plane tickets of a nominal value of $2,000 offered by the Ukraine International Airlines.
Julia Sinkevych, the General Producer of Odesa IFF, congratulated the winners during the Film Industry Office Awards ceremony and mentioned the importance of these events to the Ukrainian film industry, which needs both the exposure and the spirit of openness towards a European and an international market and audience.
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