Venice 2022 – Venice Production Bridge
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The Venice Film Festival hosts a Ukrainian Day
VENICE 2022: The initiative, held on 8 September, was organised to demonstrate the Italian festival’s solidarity with Ukraine and its support for the country’s film industry
On Thursday 8 September, the Venice Film Festival hosted a Ukrainian Day. The initiative was organised to demonstrate the festival’s solidarity with Ukraine, and particular attention was paid to the current state of the local film industry in the tragic circumstances affecting the country's entire population. In the official press release announcing the event, the Biennale di Venezia reaffirmed “its role as a platform for cultural dialogue and solidarity with Ukraine, showing that the worlds of film and culture must not remain silent in the face of this tragedy”.
The Ukrainian Day kicked off at the Hotel Excelsior’s Spazio Incontri at 10 am with greetings and opening words by the president of the Biennale, Roberto Cicutto, the festival's director, Alberto Barbera, and the Ambassador of Ukraine to Italy, Yaroslav Melnyk.
The introduction was followed by a panel discussion that saw the participation of the head of the National Cinema Institution of Ukraine, Marina Kuderchuk; Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Iryna Borovets; the director of the Orizzonti title Luxembourg, Luxembourg [+see also:
interview: Antonio Lukich
film profile], Antonio Lukich; the director of the out-of-competition movie Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom [+see also:
film profile], Evgeny Afineevsky; an artist exhibiting in the Ukrainian Pavilion, Pavlo Makov; the curator of the pavilion, Boris Filonenko; and the representative of Ukraine’s Council for State Support of Cinematography, Polina Tolmacheva. The panel was moderated by Volodymyr Ostapchuk.
Kuderchuk stressed the importance of Ukrainian films reaching other countries during the war and of keeping the global film community informed about the current state of the nation’s industry. She also highlighted the efforts of the many filmmakers who are fighting and volunteering to save Ukraine.
Borovets described how this is “an information war, and not just a war fought on the battlefield”, and added how essential it is to keep culture alive. “After our victory, and hopefully that will happen as quickly as possible, we have to be ready to show the world the true Ukraine, its true face.” She also pointed out that the government hadn’t cancelled the cultural initiatives organised by diplomatic bodies abroad.
Later, Ostapchuk thanked the festival for not inviting any Russian films or delegations, while re-emphasising the necessity of the cultural boycott against xenophobia and imperialism.
After Lukich, Filonenko and Afineevsky’s contributions, Ostapchuk delved into the current state of the Ukrainian film industry, which, before the war, had been “one of the most dynamic markets in the region”. From 2021-2022, the number of releases dropped from 70 to fewer than 20, and box-office revenues were almost halved. He later showed the ruins of some cinemas located in Kyiv and Odesa, calling them “a symbol of resilience”, since they managed to reopen one of them with minimal resources in June.
Tomalchev offered a brief overview of the country’s pre-war offerings, which included over 70 well-equipped studios and sound stages, 40 post-production studios, a 30% cash rebate and an extensive network of partnerships with giants such as Universal, HBO and Sony Pictures, as well as leading tech innovator Filmotechnic. The hope is to reconnect the industry with the rest of the world soon, and to open Ukraine up again as a place for international shoots.
The panel discussion was followed by the presentation of a number of Ukrainian projects at different stages of production, with the participation of actress and filmmaker Daria Tregubova and producer Andriy Nogin.
The event was rounded off by a Q&A session and other networking activities.
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