The event generated lots of buzz in Mykolaiv, which became a cinematic capital of the south of Ukraine for two days. The hall of the Mykolaiv Academic Russian Drama Theatre was absolutely packed both days. The film festival was opened by Pylyp Illenko, Head of the Ukrainian State Film Agency, Oleksiy Savchenko, Head of the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration, Oleksandr Senkevych, mayor of the city, and Igor Iankovskyi, philanthropist and businessman.
Igor Iankovskyi, main partner and associate of the festival, founder of the Initiative for the Future charitable foundation, said he was proud to be a part of the Civic Projector and would continue to support it, as the festival became an important cultural event for Mykolaiv as well as for the entire country.
"Five years ago, when we launched this film festival, only 50-70 people came to the screening, some of the films were made using phones. And now the theatre is packed. This is a really high-profile film festival that is of interest not only in Ukraine, but also abroad. It is inarguably national-level. I’m glad that the Civic Projector is growing fast, and I will continue to support it in the future,” said Igor Iankovskyi, businessman and philanthropist.
The festival lasted two days, featuring screenings of 18 films selected for participation in the competition program. This year, the Mykolaiv Film Festival received more than 70 films in total, which were sent not only from different regions of Ukraine but also from abroad, from the US, Belarus, Russia.
“I wish to thank everyone who supports the festival. This is incredibly important, and it shows that Ukrainian cinema is reviving. I would like to note that nowadays, new Ukrainian films open almost weekly. Most importantly, these films are made by young directors. Today, young people have got the opportunity to shoot both short and feature films before they turn 30. And such festivals is an important form of communication between the creators and you, the viewers, as it is you that we make films for,” said Pylyp Illenko.
This year, the judges included Victor Andrienko, well-known Ukrainian actor, stuntman, director and producer, and main “Weevil”, Akhtem Seitablaiev, theatre and film actor, director of Qaytarma, Stranger’s Prayer and Kiborgs, Andriy Donchyk, film and TV director, Oleh Pavliuchenkov, screenwriter, director and producer and Mykola Korchaga, Ukrainian film and TV producer.
The special event of the film festival was the premiere of the documentary film Mykolaiv. Chronicles of Protest, whose authors had been collecting footage and testimonies of participants in the Mykolaiv Euromaidan, tragic events of the autumn 2013 - spring 2014, for 1.5 years. According to Oksana Yanishevska, general producer of the documentary, the film attempts to find answers to the questions of how the Mykolaiv community managed to protect the city from Russian aggression as well as whether Ukraine would have remained in its current borders if Mykolaiv had not opposed the separatists.
One of the judges, Viktor Andrienko, and film critic Lesya Levchenko also held the workshops where they shared filming secrets and their thoughts on what constitutes a good movie with the young participants of the festival.
The closing ceremony included, among other awards, now traditional Mykolaiv City Mayor Award. Annoncing the happy winner, Oleksandr Senkevych, Mayor of Mykolaiv, wished Ukrainian cinematography to have even more love, hope, and other things worth living for. And it was a film like that, upbeat and optimistic, that was awarded by the Mayor.
Oleksiy Savchenko, Head of the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration, who also has his own award at the festival, promised to provide the Civic Projector with financial support, starting from the next year. He reminded the audience about the struggle of Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov illegally imprisoned in Russia.
After the awarding ceremony, the winners of the film festival and guests could communicate in a relaxed environment to the sound of jazz music.
List of the winners of the festival:
MYKOLAIV CITY MAYOR AWARD
Three Lattes and Croissant directed by Artemy Kirsanov, Sergey Dziuba, city of Kyiv
MYKOLAIV REGIONAL STATE ADMINISTRATION HEAD AWARD
Gambit by Andrij Snitsarchuk and Roman Martyn, Lviv
BEST REGIONAL FILM
Strong in Spirit by Vyacheslav Bihun, Tyachiv, Transcarpathian region
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Countdown by Katerina Merkulova Moscow
3rd place: Happy Years by Svitlana Shymko and Galyna Yarmanova, Kyiv
2nd place: My Friend Don Quixote by Stanislav Doronchenko, Kyiv
1st place: Strong in Spirit by Vyacheslav Bihun, Tyachiv, Transcarpathian region
BEST FEATURE FILM
3rd place: Nails by Ahmedi-Ernes Sarikhalil, Kyiv
2nd place: Monk by Olexandr Danylenko, New York
1st place: On Home Ground by Olexandr Kiriyenko, Kyiv
Session by Oleksiy Taranenko, Dnipro