REPORT: Pitching competition in Odessa 2016
by Laura Nanchino
On 21 July, as part of the Film Industry Meetings, the Odessa International Film Festival organized a pitching competition for Ukrainian and Ukraine co-produced feature film projects in development intended for theatrical distribution.
10 projects have been selected and will compete for two awards: a 50,000 UAH cash award for the best project, and a certificate for legal services for the best presentation, awarded by a jury composed of French producer Guillaume de Seille (Arizona Productions), Laurence Herszberg, director of France’s Forum des Images, Polish producer Dariusz Jablonski, Tiina Lokk, director of the Black Nights Film Festival, Tamara Tatishvili from the Georgian National Film Center, and German distributor Thomas Weymar from Telepool Gmbh.
Alisa Kovalenko's Home Games
(Award: Best Project)
Home Games, a documentary feature, is Alisa Kovalenko’s third project, a coproduction between Ukraine (East Roads & Studio Garmata Films), France and the United Kingdom. It is about Alina, a girl from suburban Kyiv, who grew up in poverty and has been saved by her passion for football. Now a professional player, she had to return to live with her mother, who is not able to care for Alina’s younger siblings. Will she prove herself as a woman or become a substitute for her failing mother? The project, which started shooting this winter, has just been selected for the IDFA Bertha Fund and has had 90% of its budget secured, thanks to support from the Guardian. The team is looking for partners to show the film in Europe, as football is such a cohesive link between people and with the woman’s Euro taking place in 2017. The expected release date is April 2017.
Lubomir Levitski’s Egregor
(Award: Best Presentation)
Egregor is a mystery thriller based on the theory of the hundredth monkey, about two ancient orders fighting to control the consciousness of humanity for a hundred years. This will be the third film by Lubomir Levitski, a young director who achieved great financial and box office results in Ukraine with The Pit, #SelfieParty and Unforgotten Shadows. Out of a two to five million euro budget, 30% has been secured for this film with great commercial potential, produced by Solar Media. With the script finalized, negotiations are currently under way with a high-level director of photography and casting director. The project is looking for Polish, French, German and UK partners. More information can be found on the film’s website, www.egregorthemovie.com.
Alessandra Pescetta’s 100 Preludes
A coproduction between Ukraine (Insight Media PC) and Italy (Air8 Studio), 100 preludes tells the story of Mara, a young Ukrainian cellist who joins her mother in Italy to study. She starts an unhealthy relationship with her master, Gabrielli, before discovering that she can follow her own roots. This psychological drama, which will see Giovanni Calcagno as the master, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari as the composer and Oleksandr Zemlianoy as the cinematographer (The nest of the turtledove), is at the first draft of script and received financial support from the Odessa Film Studio. According to the producer, who is looking for another partner country to apply for Creative Europe support, 100 preludes has commercial potential and is the story of the meeting of two generations.
Valentyn Vasyanovych’s Atlantida
Atlantida, in the initial stage of production and with an expected release date in April 2018, will be written, directed and produced by Valentyn Vasyanovych (Garmata Film Studio). It portrays the degradation and ruin of the industrial part of Ukraine through an individual’s viewpoint; a film about the choice of a person to turn from a worker to a thinking person who can only depend on himself. With a provisional budget of 1.6 million euros because of some dangerous locations and 3D effects related to a factory disaster, the director is looking for co-production, pre-sales and sales partners.
Sergiy Rahmanin’s Hot Summer
The Ukrainian-Argentinian coproduction Hot Summer follows the life of 19 year-old Max and is about the failure of a post-Soviet person of Ukrainian background to adapt to the Western world in Argentina. The feature will mainly be shot in Odessa. With a small budget of approximately 300,000 euros, producers in Ukraine (nQ Production Studio LLC and OSKAR Sea Group) and Argentina as well as a private investor, the writer-director hopes that Hot Summer will be a box office mainstream hit, and plans to release the feature in March 2017.
Taras Dron’s Blindfold
Taras Dron’s first feature film, planned for release in February 2017, takes place one year after the death of Yulya’s boyfriend in the Ukrainian war. Over the course of three days. Blindfold follows the 27 year old girl as she tries to forget her loss and finds herself in an inner conflict, with the military patriarchal society treating her as a victim, while she starts a relationship with a lawyer while at the same times hoping that her late boyfriend is still alive. The project, produced by Nord Production, is in development at the third draft of script and in the stage of casting and documentation.
Nana Jorjiadze’s Kostya’s Office
This tragicomedy by Georgian veteran director/writer Nana Jorjiadze, currently in the second draft, is about Kostya, celebrated among the whole generation of the Soviet underground as one of the Kviy legends, and its apartment full of artists from every background who were rejected by the official Soviet art world. Produced by Truman Production with a 500,000 euro budget and more than 50% in place, the team is seeking a Georgian co-producer.
Oleksiy Shaparev’s Kruty 1918. Defense
Expected to be released in 2018 (100 years after the end of the first World War), with a budget of 1,6 millions euros and more than 50% already in place, Kruty 1918. Defense is a true story that took place after WW1 when London, Paris and Kviy had secret negotiations to establish a block and resist the enemy. Dealing with loyalty to the motherland, and currently in the third draft of script and the production of a storyboard, this feature, according to the director and producer (Good Morning Film), may be interesting for the national box office as it will help the audience to understand current events.
Marina Stepanska’s Headlong
Headlong is a story about the post-revolutionary generation of young Ukrainian people looking for their place in a modern Ukraine. It follows two bewildered people who meet at a crucial moment of their existence and experience seven days of happiness together. Marina Stepanska’s first feature will deliver the message that you should learn to be ‘right here right now’, it is the only way to find yourself and your inner power. Produced by TatoFilm InsightMedia, with more than 50% of its financing in place, the project received support from the Ukrainian film agency and plans for a 2017 release. The producers are looking for an Austrian co-producer, as their director of photography is Austrian.
Iskandar Usmonov’s Halola
Tajik director Iskandar Usmonov, plans to direct a story of forbidden love built around a Muslim tradition, called Halola, with a girl from a small Tajik village and a Ukrainian driver as the main characters who meet and hope for a free and happy life. Produced by the Cinema Project Group and with half of its 800,000 euro budget in place, this Ukraine-Germany-France-Tajikistan-Iran coproduction expects a 2017 release.