New film from The Tribe director among projects at Odessa.

New films by award-winning Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy (The Tribe), documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky (Pipeline) and Lithuania’s Sharunas Bartas (Freedom) are among over two dozen projects being presented at the Odessa International Film Festival’s industry section, the Film Industry Office (FIO, July 14-17).

Bartas’ drama Frost, which is being structured as a co-production between Ukraine, Lithuania and France, tells the story of a young Lithuanian’s experiences as he drives his truck with humanitarian aid from Vilnius to Ukraine.

The $936,000 (€850,000) production by Odessa-based Truman Production is one of ten feature film projects competing for a prize to be judged by a jury made up of the producers Guillaume de Seille, Raymond van der Kaaij and Anna Katchko as well as Meetings on the Bridge chief Gülin Üstün.

The pitching line-up this year ranges from Sebastian Saam’s black comedy-thriller Midnight In Uman (working title) through Akhtem Seitablaev’s Chervonyi about a Ukrainian insurgent and Soviet airman joining forces to survive life in a brutal camp.

Also on the line-up is Dmytro Sukholytkky-Sobchuk’s illegal immigrant drama Pamfir, which is set to be co-produced by Directory Films’ Igor Savychenko with Krzysztof Zanussi’s Tor Film Studio, Berlin-based Kirill Krasovskiy’s Facturafilm and Romanian producer Dan Nutu.

There will be an ‘out of competition’ pitching of The Tribe director Slaboshpytskiy’s latest project, Luxembourg, which is being produced by Anna Katchko’s Berlin-based Tandem Production with partners from Ukraine, France, Norway, and The Netherlands.

Works in Progress

Documentary projects are the dominant factor in the works in progress competition being judged by Loco Films’ Laurent Danielou, Eye on Films’ Nawid Sarem, and Maywin AB’s Boris Shulman.

Many of the projects see the filmmakers addressing events in Ukraine over the past year, including the Maidan Square demonstrations in Kiev in winter 2013/4.

They include Roman Liubyi’s #war_note with a first-hand account of the armed conflict, Volodymr Tykhyy’s documentary detective story Captives about dramatic events in a Kiev street in February 2014, Liza Smith and Makysm Nakonechnyi’s Maidan documentary The Awakening, and Damian Kolodiy’s Ukrainian-US co-production Freedom Or Death.

In addition, special presentations are being lined up of footage from the ongoing documentary project Release Oleg Sentsov, Taras Tkachenko’s family drama The Nest Of The Turtledove and Serhiy Bukovskiy’s music documentary Okean Elzy. Backstage shot during the band’s anniversary tour last year.

Moreover, Vitaly Mansky and German producer Simone Baumann will show excerpts from Mansky’s latest documentary Close Relations which explores Ukrainian-Russian relations through the eyes of his closest relatives in Lviv, Odessa, Crimea and Donetsk.

The film is structured as a co-production with Latvia, Germany, Estonia and Russia for the director who is currently living and working out of the Latvian capital of Riga.

Last year, Mansky was told in no uncertain terms by Russia’s Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky that he would not be receiving any public support for any of his future projects or for the Artdokfest which Mansky has run in Moscow each December.

Ukraine-UK initiative

Documentaries will also be the focus of another FIO session organised by the British Council and Docudays UA, entitled Made in Ukraine. Produced in the UK, which will inform Ukrainian documentary filmmakers about the opportunities open to them in the UK.

Guests from the UK will include Sylvia Wroblewska (Sheffield Doc/Fest) and Luke Moody (BRITDOC Foundation).

Meanwhile The Guardian Pitch launches as an opportunity for Ukrainian documentary filmmakers aged under 37 to pitch their ideas for Ukrainian stories and win a commission of $7,682 (£5,000) to produce a short-form documentary to be featured by the Guardian online in a weekly slot for new documentaries. The Guardian Pitch will be held at the 13th Docudays UA in Kiev next March.

Georgian showcase

While the focus of Odessa’s industry programme this year is largely on local production or projects being co-produced with Ukraine, the FIO is nevertheless looking beyond its own borders by casting a spotlight on new Georgian cinema with works in progress presentations of three projects:

·        Nino Basilia’s Anna [Naked] about a lonely single mother prepared to do anything to get a visa to the USA for herself and her autistic child.

·        Vano Burduli’s love story Summer of Frozen Mountains, which is co-produced by Russia’s Sergey Selyanov of CTB and was pitched as a project at Belgrade’s B2B and Molodist’s Boat Meeting Co-Production Forum.

·        Rusudan Pirveli’s Sleeping Lessons about a 19-year-old boy struggling with life-changing decisions. The $440,000 (€400,000) production was first presented as a project at Locarno’s Open Doors in 2013.

The Film Industry Office’s four-day programme will also include presentations of the Baltic to Black Sea Documentary Network (B2B DOC), the Berlin-based Nipkow Programme’s residency, and a new scriptwriting workshop, entitled Terrarium and launched in association with the Coronation of the Word literary competition, giving six scriptwriters advice on improving their screenplays and preparing them for pitching in an international forum.

This new initiative will also feature readings from the scripts by professional actors.

This year’s edition of the Odessa International Film Festival will kick off on Friday evening (July 10) with a screening of Quentin Dupieux’s Reality following the official opening ceremony in the Festival Palace.