Peter Webber to head jury, David Puttnam to deliver lecture during fifth edition of the Ukranian festival.

Golden Bear winner Black Coal, Thin Ice and the Camera D’Or recipient Party Girl [pictured] are among the 12 films selected for the International Competition at the fifth edition of the Odessa International Film Festival (OIFF), which runs July 11-19.

UK director Peter Webber will head the jury composed of Ukrainian film-maker Sergei Loznitsa, Israeli actress Jenya Dodina, Belorussian actress-director Olga Dykhovichnaya and French actor-critic Jean-Philippe Tessé.

The other films in the running for the Golden Duke award are:

  • Bryan Reisberg’s social and psychological drama Big Significant Things (US)
  • Levan Koguashvili’s feelgood film Blind Dates (Georgia)
  • Director and painter Lech Majewski’s Field of Dogs (Poland)
  • Alonso Ruizpalacios’ road movie debut Güeros (Mexico)
  • Valentin Hotea’s social and psychological drama Roxanne (Romania)
  • Anna Melikyan’s Kinotavr award-winner Star (Russia)
  • Maximilan Erlenwein’s psychological thriller Stereo (Germany)
  • Tribeca winner Talya Lavie’s surrealist tragicomedy Zero Motivation (Israel)

Plus, two Ukrainian productions which participated in the festival’s “Work in Progress” programme last years and will now be shown in both the national and international competitions:

  • Georgian director Nana Dzhordzhadze’s melodrama My Mermaid, My Loreley, which was shooting in Odessa during the festival in 2012
  • Oles Sanin’s long awaited historical drama The Guide as a world premiere.

National Competition

The National Competition of seven full-length films will be judged by the Georgian National Film Centre director Nana Dzhanelidze, Istanbul International Film Festival director Azize Tan, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar actor-director Ahtem Seytablaev and documentary film-maker Vitaly Mansky. The competition was made possible by a crowdfunding campaign organised by the festival in this turbulent year.

In addition to the two aforementioned, the line-up includes:

  • Volodymyr Tykhy’s psychological thriller The Green Jacket
  • actress Larissa Kadochnikova’s directorial debut Self-Portrait
  • Alyona Demyanenko and Dmitry Tomashpolsky’s F 63.9 Love Sickness
  • Valentyn Vasyanovych’s documentary Crepuscule
  • Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadir Er’s Ukrainian-Turkish film Love Me.

An innovation this year is the introduction of a new prize category for Best Actor with a cash prize of $850 (UAH 10,000).


Special guests already confirmed for this year’s edition are the Irish actor Aidan Turner (The Hobbit), UK producer Lord David Puttnam, who will give a lecture at the OIFF Summer Film School, and director Stephen Frears who will be the subject of a mini-retrospective.

Frears will also give a masterclass at the Summer Film School and be presented with a Golden Duke for his contribution to motion picture arts during the festival’s opening ceremony on July 11.

While Darren Aronofsky cannot personally attend the festival, he will give an online masterclass on directing to the students of the Summer Film School.

Other highlights include the Festival of the Festivals sidebar with screenings of such international successes as Ida, Life Of Riley, Still Life, Of Horses and Men and Cannes Palmes d’Or winner Winter Sleeps, as well as open-air screenings of Louise Feuillades’s 1913 classic Fantomas and Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, the latter on the famous Potemkin Stairs in a lesser-known silent version with live musical accompaniment.

Film Industry Office expands

Despite the logistical and financial constraints faced by the festival this year, its Film Industry Office (July 14-17) will expand its activities from the traditional Pitching and Work in Progress presentation to include the so-called “Producer+Director” educational programme with master classes on pitching techniques, scriptwriting, and working with the audience.

In addition, the cash prize for the best pitch by a Ukrainian feature-length project has been raised from $2100 (UAH 25,000) to $4200 (UAH 50,000) thanks to the festival’s partner UDP.

Furthermore, Ukrainian International Airlines has introduced a prize equivalent to $3,000 for flights for the best Ukrainian work in progress.

Latest news on Oleg Sentsov; censorship protest

OIFF’s executive producer Julia Sinkevych told Screen Daily ahead of this morning’s (June 11) programme press conference in Kiev that the event would open with the latest news about the whereabouts and welfare of the film-maker Oleg Sentsov.

She said that the press conference would include an exclusive video from his lawyer Dmitriy Dynze.

UPDATE: In a Skype video lasting more than eight minutes, Dynze spoke about the “harsh regime” of Sentsov’s incarceration at the Lefortovo prison, the possible development of the situation, the “information war” being waged by the FSB’s press department and the “physical and psychological pressure” on Sentsov.

The video can be viewed on the festival’s Facebook site. While Likes are not considered inappropriate in this case, visitors are encouraged to share the link as “our victory in the information war directly depends on this.”

Only yesterday, the European Film Academy sent an open letter to the Russian authorities expressing its concern about Sentsov’s welfare.

This came after the Union of Russian Film-makers (Kinosoyuz) had demanded the immediate release of Sentsov in an appeal to the Russian security service FSB on May 19, followed by words of solidarity by such directors as Alexey Fedorchenko, Vitaly Mansky, Alexey Popogrebsky, Boris Khlebnikov, Maria Razbezhkina and Alexander Sokurov.

In the meantime, Kinosoyuz also has a homemade problem occupying them: the refusal of the Ministry of Culture to issue a distribution certificate for Hussein Erkenov’s new film Ordered To Forget with the argument that the film is “anti-Russian” and “a falsification of history.”

Shot in Chechnya, the historical drama shows how Stalin ordered the forcible deportation  the whole Chechen nation and the related Ingush group from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in the winter of 1944, accusing them of lacking loyalty to the state.

The film-makers open letter has been signed by, among others, such directors as Alexander Veledinsky, Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Vasily Sigarev, Alexey Fedorchenko and Maria Razbezhkina, producers Igor Tolstunov and Evgeny Gindilis as well as critics Andrey Plakhov and Viktor Matizen.