On 23 February 2020, the Igor Iankovskyi Foundation and the State Film Agency organised and successfully held the Third Business Lunch for Ukrainian and foreign producers within the Co-Production Market at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale 2020).
On this day, more than 250 producers from 52 countries gathered in the dining hall at the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin (House of Representatives), located in the historic building of the Prussian Landtag (Parliament), to meet their Ukrainian colleagues. The Co-Production Market is an industry program within the Berlin International Film Festival, which annually chooses close to 600 film producers experienced in international film production.
Thanks to the consistent cooperation of the Igor Iankovskyi Foundation with Berlinale, almost 30 Ukrainian producers have been able to join the Co-Production Market, which provides access to all industry film market events such as training seminars, workshops, round tables and multilateral meetings, where they get the chance of finding filmmaking partners for co-production.
Commenting on the event, Igor Iankovskyi noted that his Foundation had been promoting Ukrainian cinema abroad for the eighth year in a row.
“Five years ago, we established a good annual tradition of hosting the Meet Ukrainian Producers business lunches at the Cannes Film Festival in France, which have been a great success. In Germany, we have been organising the meetings of professionals at the world’s largest Berlin International Film Festival on behalf of Ukraine for the third year in a row. In the past, we have repeatedly supported the work of the Ukrainian National Stand at the European Film Market in Berlin and Cannes, held Ukrainian parties, brought young cinematographers to Cannes and Berlin. As you can see, this work is bearing fruit: young directors and producers have started making feature films that are included in the most prestigious film festivals all over the world, more and more Ukrainian films are being co-produced with foreign producers,” said Igor Mykolayovych Iankovskyi, business owner and philanthropist.
Pavlo Sushko, Chairman of the Cinematography and Advertising Subcommittee of the Humanitarian and Information Policy Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, who took part in the 70th Berlin International Film Festival as a politician for the first time, also agrees with the importance of such events. Earlier, when he was a film producer, his company found a German co-producer at this kind of business lunch hosted by the Igor Iankovskyi Foundation, and now they are jointly implementing an international adventure film project.
“Much has already been done, and Ukraine is already being talked about. At Berlinale, we have a stand saying UkraineWOW. And at the meetings, Europeans say that Ukraine is WOW; we keep hearing people talking: Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine. But there is still a lot to be done,” Pavlo Sushko summed up.
The Igor Iankovskyi Foundation has been hosting business lunches at Berlinale for the third year in a row. The main objective of such events is to attract additional attention to Ukraine and expand the horizons of cooperation between Ukrainian and foreign producers. Due to the fact that Ukraine was the host of the business lunch, Yevhenia Yatsuta, the new Chair of the Film Industry Association of Ukraine (FIAU), co-owner and executive producer at Radioaktivefilm, was given the opportunity to hold a presentation of the Ukrainian film industry within the Country Session at the co-production market. At such sessions, representatives of several selected countries present the opportunities of their national markets and answer specific questions about the joint production of films, explain the peculiarities of obtaining government funding for foreign partners.
“It is very important for Ukraine to take part in such industry events as the Co-Production Market Berlinale. This is a high level of opportunity. And for several years now, we have been having such cooperation with our Ukrainian partners. It is no coincidence that for the first time, a Ukrainian film is presented on the co-production market this year as a project under production,” says Martina Blais, curator of the Co-Production Market.
This year, Ukraine has been widely represented at the Berlin Film Festival. The global opening night of Oleg Sentsov and Akhtem Seitablaev’s film titled Numbers took place as part of the Berlinale Special program. The Earth is Blue Like an Orange documentary directed by Iryna Tsilyk was shown in the Generation 14plus competition program. Moreover, the organising committee of the Berlin International Film Festival has chosen Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s scandalous film titled DAU. Natasha for its main competition program. It was co-produced with the Ukrainian company Phenomen Ukraine. Another film titled DAU. Degeneration from the same project was shown as part of Berlinale Special. The parallel program, Forum Expanded, also featured a short film co-produced by the USA, Japan and Ukraine titled Citizens of the Cosmos (directed by Anton Vidokl).
Zhanna Ozirna, Ukrainian director and screenwriter, was chosen to participate in the annual Berlinale Talents Forum, which is the industry platform of the Berlin International Film Festival for 250 young promising filmmakers. And for the first time in the history of Ukraine, Gleam, new Limelite project produced by Volodymyr Yatsenko and directed by Valentyn Vasyanovych, was selected among the 36 best international projects for the prestigious Berlinale Co-production Market.
The European Film Market also featured screenings of My Thoughts are Quiet (directed by Antonio Lukic), The Devoted (directed by Khrystyna Syvolap), The Rising Hawk (directed by Akhtem Seitablaev and John Wynn), The Forgotten (directed by Daria Onyshchenko), Hiding Places (directed by Iryna Hromozda, creative producer Olesya Lukyanenko, co-producer Kateryna Vyshnevska) and LET IT SNOW (directed by Stanislav Kapralov).
At the European Film Market at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, Ukraine was represented by #UkraineISYourDestination, a large national booth organised by the State Film Agency and professional film associations of Ukraine. Berlinale also hosted a traditional Ukrainian party, which kindled great interest among the festival attendees, as well as the reception at the Embassy of Ukraine in Germany.
Berlinale is a Class A international film festival, considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious and most visited film festivals. It has been held in the German capital annually since 1951. Berlinale includes the European Film Market (EFM), which is one of the most important meeting places for film industry professionals: producers, distributors, sales agents, film festival and market organisers.