Oksana Syhareva • Producer
“Art has a different purpose than to change politics or society”
- The Emerging Producer from Ukraine doesn't see film as a weapon for social and political change, but a piece of art that touches souls
An interview with Oksana Syhareva, a Ukranian producer selected for the 2023 Emerging Producers programme. Read her EP profile here.
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Oksana Syhareva: I make films for the same reason that a baker bakes bread and a builder builds a house. This is my choice and my responsibility to my own choice. But every day I ask myself: do I still want to make films or am I already interested in something else? I worked on many different cultural projects. And if I at some point realize that I need a different tool than film to express what I want to say, I will create a festival or a lecture or a theatrical production. At the heart of every project lies an idea. And for every idea, you can find your own way to reveal it.
I don't see film as an instrument of social or political change, or as a weapon of warfare. A weapon kills. Art never kills. A film is a piece of art. And a piece of art has a different purpose than to change politics or society. A work of art touches the soul of every person.
Where do you find audiences for your films?
Audiences are looking for good films. To do this, we ask our friends for advice or do internet searches, we watch trailers before we go to the cinema. Therefore, a good film always meets its audience. Good films are always talked about, recommended, friends are invited to watch them, people go to see good films on dates. The audience will always find a good film. It’s not the producer who finds the audience. If the producer spends a lot of time and money looking for an audience, maybe the film is not so good.
What films have you seen recently and would recommend watching?
There is a war going on in my country and people and children are dying. For me, this is not the time to watch movies. I can’t watch a lot of movies. If I have free time, I try to help my husband and brother. They are both in the army. I’ve only seen a few films in the last year. I really like The Painter and the Thief [+see also:
interview: Benjamin Ree
film profile] and The Mole Agent [+see also:
interview: Maite Alberdi
film profile]. I also watched old films with Celentano, just to take my mind off the bad news.
What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
I am writing a feature film script and developing a VR project. But it’s hard for me to talk about the future. It’s difficult for Ukrainians to plan anything, even for tomorrow. When our army wins, I will gladly share my plans for the future.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024 edition is 31 March 2023.
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