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REPORT: Ukrainian Doc Preview @ Docudays 2020


- Una panoramica dei cinque documentari ucraini in fase di rough-cut o post-produzione che sono stati premiati dopo essere stati presentati ai professionisti del settore ai Docudays

REPORT: Ukrainian Doc Preview @ Docudays 2020

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

We profile the five winners of Docudays UA's Ukrainian Doc Preview, which presented six Ukrainian documentaries at the rough-cut or post-production stage to festival selectors, and representatives from international sales companies, funds and broadcasters.

The jury consisted of Olga Birzul, head of film programmes at the Ukrainian Institute; Zdeněk Blaha, programme director at the Prague-based Institute of Documentary Film; Natalia Arshavskaya, commissioning editor at Current Time TV; and Patrizia Mancini, international development executive at Sunny Side of the Doc.

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Salt from Bonneville by Simon Mozgovy

Ukrainian Institute Award

Salt from Bonneville - Simon Mozgovy (Ukraine/Poland/Georgia)
Previously pitched at Visions du Réel, Beldocs, Odesa and Cinedoc Tbilisi, the director's first feature-length documentary, billed as an "adventure drama", follows two Ukrainian men who set out with their old Soviet motorcycle to beat the world speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA. We see Nazar and Max assembling their bike in a small garage on the outskirts of Kyiv, travelling hundreds of miles and overcoming countless obstacles to taste victory at this dry salt desert where enthusiasts from around the world gather to compete. Currently in post-production and expected to be ready for release this summer, the film is being co-produced by Ukraine's Mainstream Pictures, Poland's Stewopol and Georgia's Atlant Media Group.

Iron Butterflies by Roman Liubyi

Current Time Award

Iron Butterflies - Roman Liubyi (Ukraine)
Liubyi won three awards at this year's Docudays UA with his feature-length debut, War Note (see the news), and is now working on his new film, which reflects on the tragedy of flight MH17, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing with 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board, which was shot down over Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists in 2014. It is a hybrid film that combines facts and archive footage with fictional and artistic elements, such as dance, physical performance, music, installations and video art, offering the viewer a chance to see the event from different angles and at different times, simultaneously connecting the crimes of the past with the present. Iron Butterflies is currently in production by Ukrainian company Babylon '13.

Diary of a Bride of Christ by Marta Smerechynska

East Silver Caravan Award + DOK Leipzig Award

Diary of a Bride of Christ - Marta Smerechynska (Ukraine)
Presented earlier at Camerimage IFF Talent Demo and IDFAcademy, the first feature by 22-year-old filmmaker and actress Marta Smerechynska was inspired by her sister, who decided to become a nun when she was 13. Filming in a nunnery in a village in Transcarpathia, Smerechynska finds 12 young girls who take part in a large-scale celebration involving the Argentinean congregation in Ukraine and a gathering of hundreds of nuns from all over the world in Rome, but who also spend their days in absolute silence and tell their most intimate stories. Produced by Natalia Libet for DGTL RLGN, the project is at the rough-cut stage and will be ready for a premiere in 2021.

The Elf's Tower by Polina Kelm

DAE Talent Development Award

The Elf's Tower - Polina Kelm (Poland/Ukraine)
The first feature by the director of Positive, a short selected for DOK Leipzig and Hot Docs, borrows its title from a play written by an inmate at a mental hospital. The film's protagonist, Serhiy, starts a theatre in the hospital, where patients act on stage alongside amateur teens and even his own children. A metaphorical elf, Serhiy sees the patients as unique, special people and strives to take them out of the cage of prejudice. A co-production between Poland's Film Studio Everest and Ukraine's Magika Film, The Elf's Tower is at the rough-cut stage, having received state funding from both co-production countries and the IDFA Bertha Fund, and having been pre-sold to both territories plus the Benelux. The premiere is planned for November 2020.

Plai. Path Through the Mountains by Eva Jishiashvili

Pitch the Doc Award

Plai. Path Through the Mountains - Eva Jishiashvili (Ukraine)
Director Eva Jishiashvili's first feature is the story of married couple Hanna and Dmytro, who live in a remote house in the mountains with their grandchildren, while their children are working abroad and only come to visit for holidays. Since Dmytro lost his leg to a grenade explosion four years ago, a lot of hard labour has fallen on the shoulders of his fragile wife, who used to dream about working as a chef in a city restaurant. Produced by IQ Production, the film is at the rough-cut stage and will be ready for a premiere in October 2020.

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