“Ukraine’s audiovisual and cultural industries are strong and resilient,” say panellists at Cannes NEXT
- CANNES 2023: The talk explored how the global content, digital and creative sectors can contribute to Ukraine's goals, and surveyed the current state of the country’s cultural and creative industries
On 19 May, the Marché du Film’s Main Stage hosted a panel exploring how the global content, digital and creative sectors can contribute to Ukraine's goals, as well as surveying the state of the country’s cultural and creative industries. The talk, titled “Building Civil and Digital Resilience, How Ukraine and Europe Can Innovate and Create Future Champions”, was moderated by Craig Forman, a global media and technology industry leader, and former president and CEO of McClatchy Group. The panellists included Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy; Kristen Davis, CEO and founder of CinqC; and Guy-Philippe Goldstein, director of GPG Consulting. A special video message from Valeriya Ionan, Deputy Minister for Eurointegration, was also broadcast during the event.
In his contribution, Shevchenko highlighted how “cultural life” is still going on in Ukraine despite many of his fellow countrymen having left or being involved in the fighting. He made mention, in particular, of the groundbreaking box-office success of Oleh Malamuzh and Oleksandra Ruban’s Mavka. The Forest Song, the most-watched animated film in Ukrainian history.
Film companies are still operational and producing new projects, even in wartime. He defined the business development of cultural and creative enterprises as another important “frontline” and confirmed the government’s determination to fight disinformation and protect freedom of speech, as well as its commitment to coproducing and collaborating with foreign partners not only to support Ukraine, but also in order to be profitable. He highlighted how many firms are proving particularly resilient, performing well despite the difficulties they have to deal with on a daily basis.
Later, Davis spoke about the Alliance for Civil & Digital Resilience (ACDR), a pan-European group of experts who are aiming to promote innovation and share best practices for resilience within a number of sectors, from media to tech, and from non-profit organisations to governmental ones. The body has been supporting Ukrainian businesses and its economy for the last 450 days, and she touched upon successful business models implemented within the Ukrainian audiovisual industry, citing in particular Respeecher, a Kyiv-based start-up whose most recent works include the AI voice for Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi and the de-aging of Luke Skywalker’s voice in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. The expertise of this start-up is not just proving helpful for film and media; the knowledge acquired is also supporting the development of synthetic voice-based tools that can help people affected by voice afflictions. ACDR aims to find as many of these models as possible, and find out “how to replicate them and scale them up”.
In particular, Goldstein mentioned how the whole IT sector has proven particularly robust, as it has managed to rebuild its infrastructure and ultimately expand it. The revenues of Ukraine’s IT sector have grown by 13%, a quicker pace than that of other countries currently at peace. He finished by stressing how ACDR’s activity of identifying effective business models will be indispensable when tackling future crises.
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