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ODESA 2019 Film Industry Office

Newbies and veterans stand side by side at the Odesa Film Industry Office

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- At the Film Industry Office awards ceremony, it wasn’t just emerging filmmakers who got their moment in the spotlight

Newbies and veterans stand side by side at the Odesa Film Industry Office
Some of the winners of Odesa's 2019 Film Industry Office

There was cause for celebration during the last day of the Film Industry Office, the industry section of the tenth Odesa International Film Festival, culminating in an awards ceremony that provided some welcome surprises. “You won’t find it in the agenda; it was not in the press release. But it’s something that comes from the bottom of my heart,” said visibly moved general producer Juliya Sinkevych, teaming up with Tamara Tatishvili to present the first award of the evening to the Israel Film Fund’s Katriel Schory for his outstanding contribution to the film industry. “It’s a very moving moment, especially here in Odesa – my roots are in this city,” admitted the recipient, taking to the stage to a standing ovation. “I did what I could in my 21 years as the head of the fund, and after over 40 years in the industry, I am still alive, more or less. It’s doable if you believe in what you do, and if you are truthful to yourself and to the stories you want to tell. There is a tremendous energy here in Ukraine – you just need to get your act together.”

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This emotional moment was followed by the gongs for EastSeries, a drama series competition that included projects created by Eastern and Central European writers, or by production companies registered in those countries. It was organised by the festival in partnership with ScripTeast, Star Media and Series Mania, the latter inviting Poland’s The Gift to take part in the Series Mania Writers’ Campus. “We are very thankful for this – it’s all we needed at this stage,” said director Olga Chajdas after picking up the award with co-writer Marta Konarzewska, who added: “It’s a very important project for us, and we hope it will be important for everybody.” The post-production service package worth $20,000, courtesy of Star Media, went to the Ukrainian-Israeli title Happy Nation, written by Dmytro Hrypun and telling the story of a boxer trying to provide for his family. “Together, we will rock the 1990s again!” announced the happy crew, referencing the film’s timeline.

Among the 13 projects selected for the pitching session, consisting of Ukrainian feature films (and co-productions) currently in development, two stood out for the jury, which included producers Marianne Slot (Slot Machine), Guillaume de Seille (Arizona Productions), Karsten Stöter (Rohfilm Factory) and Riina Sildos (Amrion Productions), Katriel Schory, project curator of the Berlinale Co-Production Market Martina Bleis and, finally, Olena Kanishevska, of the Ukraina TV channel. A total of UAH 60,000 (around €2,000) was thus bestowed upon Valentyn Vasyanovych’s Reflection, and the same amount was given to Georgia’s Panopticon, directed by George Sikharulidze. “It’s the story of a young man in search of meaning and belonging, a strong proposition from a young director that speaks to the past generation while going far beyond Georgian borders,” went the official statement.

Another pleasant surprise, this time courtesy of Poland’s Wajda Studio, was appreciated by Pavlo Ostrikov, who was offered participation in the EKRAN + training programme in 2020 thanks to his science-fiction romance U Are the Universe. Meanwhile, the prize of UAH 85,000 from the HeForShe global solidarity movement for gender equality was given to two projects, Roman Bondarchuk’s September 1 and Philip Sotnichenko’s La Paliciada, with Daria Zhuk’s much-anticipated Our Breasts Are Our Weapons: The Story of FEMEN, about a radical feminist group, receiving a Special Mention, picked up by producers Denys Ivanov and Philippe Godeau. “We decided to give the Special Mention to the second movie by this female filmmaker who has already proven herself with her first – also internationally,” pointed out Martina Bleis, referencing Zhuk’s breakthrough Crystal Swan [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Darya Zhuk
film profile
]
. “I want to say one thing in general, and it’s not just a set phrase, although you do tend to hear it very often: the quality of the projects was very high this year.”

In the Work in Progress section, out of 12 titles, the jury – consisting of Laurent Danielou, of Loco Films; Inke van Loocke (CineMart and Rotterdam Lab manager); Wild Bunch’s Marie-Pierre Vallé; and Yuriy Sugak, chief editor of the Ukraina TV channel – awarded the Ukrainian-Swiss project The Forgotten, directed by Daria Onyshchenko, which received a prize of UAH 150,000 from the Ukrainian Institute. The prize from the Today news programme at Ukraina – worth UAH 60,000 – went to the documentary project Fragile Memory by Igor Ivanko, and the Award from Ukraine International Airlines, providing an airfare valued at €2,000, went to Thunders by Ioane Bobeyko. “He didn’t want to pitch and cried for two days,” joked producer Sergiu Cumatrenco on stage. “But I said: ‘If you do this, if you get to that next level, I will work with you for the next 100 years to come.’ I guess now I will.”

The Film Industry Office took place during the Odesa International Film Festival, from 16-19 July 2019.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Film Industry
Katriel Schory

EastSeries Special Award
The Gift - Olga Chajdas

EastSeries Post-production Service Package
Happy Nation
Writer: Dmytro Hrypun

TV Channel Ukraina Award
Reflection - Valentyn Vasyanovych

Odesa Film Festival Award for Best Pitch
Panopticon - George Sikharulidze

Wajda Studio Award
U Are the Universe - Pavlo Ostrikov

HeForShe Award
September 1 - Roman Bondarchuk
La Paliciada - Philip Sotnichenko

HeForShe Special Mention
Our Breasts Are Our Weapons: The story of FEMEN - Daria Zhuk

Ukrainian Institute Work in Progress Award
The Forgotten - Daria Onyshchenko

Today News Programme at the TV Channel Ukraina Award
Fragile Memory - Igor Ivanko

Ukraine International Airlines Award
Thunders - Ioane Bobeyko

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