A group of Ukrainian film professionals have launched a privately funded, non-profit organisation, called AVIC (Audiovisual Information Centre), to act as a link between local film-makers and the international industry.

Still smarting from the 1998 rouble crisis, which badly affected the local hryvnia currency, the ailing Ukrainian film industry is far removed from the glory days of the Soviet-run Dovzhenko studio. However, AVIC plans to raise its profile by supplying information about local film-makers, locations and investment opportunities to international companies and organisations. At the same time it will inform the local industry about festivals, marketing and finance opportunities abroad.

AVIC director Olga Vaganova has already helped smooth the logistics for Finnish producer Sauli Ruuskanen (Amigos Productions) who shot a documentary about Ukrainian miners in the country.

The opening of the centre coincides with a boom in Ukrainian rock music which has reached unprecedented popularity in neighbouring Russia. Young film-makers are carving a niche for themselves shooting videos for acts such as Okean Elzi and folk-rockers Voplie Vidopliasova, which are both favourites at MTV Russia.