On July 15, at the 8th OIFF, two competition programmes were opened: the International Competition and the European Documentary Competition. Among the other events of the day were the presentations of films from non-competition programmes – “The Other Side of Hope” by Aki Kaurismaki, “Tangerines” by Zaza Urushadze, “Glory” by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Vlachanov, the opening of the series section, as well as one of the most large-scale open-air cinema performances – the screening on the Potemkin Stairs.
The International Competition Programme opened with the film “Free and Easy” by Chinese director Jun Geng, who personally presented the film: “During the presentation of my film, I paid attention to Ukrainian subtitles and felt great satisfaction. If the film is translated into Ukrainian – it would be incredible.” At the Sundance Film Festival, the film was awarded the special jury prize. The second film from the International Competition Programme – “In Between” – is a dramatic story by director Maysaloun Hamoud about the balance between traditions and modernity, loyalty and freedom, religion and gender equality. The film received 8 awards from international film festivals, including in Haifa, Toronto, San Sebastian and Istanbul.
OIFF, within the framework of the European Documentary Competition, hosted the world premiere of “Princes Among Men” (directed by Stephan Crasneanscki). “The film is completely filmed in poetic Roma language. And we are especially pleased that both Romani families, whom we filmed for this project, came here specifically to present the film”, said the director.
Three films from the “Festival of Festivals” programme were presented on July 15. Among them – the long awaited “The Other Side of Hope”, for which Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki has been awarded the Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale (Best Director). “The Girl Without Hands” is Sébastien Laudenbach’s debut feature film, which won the Grand Prix of the Anime Film Festival in Tokyo, and garnered a special mention at the Annecy Animation International Film Festival (2016). The work of Bulgarian directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov “Glory” received a special mention at the Locarno Film Festival in 2016. The “Gala Premieres” section opened with Stépfane Robelin’s comedy “Mr. Stein Goes Online”. The film with Pierre Richard in the main role was presented to the Ukrainian audience for the first time.
In the “Special Screenings” section, member of the jury of the National Competition Zaza Urushadze personally presented his film “Tangerines” (nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe): “It all began with the fact that I came to Estonia to the festival of Georgian cinema. And one of the Estonian producers offered me to make a film about the Estonians who lived in Abkhazia and left when the war began. At first, I did not understand what the story should be. But when I returned to Georgia, the idea for the plot came to me instantly. I wrote the script very quickly – in two weeks. I thought it would be a great premise – the main character houses two enemies, and they have to live under the same roof and share a table.”
“Your Honor” (the winner of the Series Mania competition) by Shlomo Mashiach and Ron Ninio opened the now traditional section “Series!”. “Today, TV series is a trend, a certain fashion and cultural vision”, said media holding company “Media Group Ukraine” director Yevhen Liashchenko at the announcing press conference.
Also on July 15, the programme “OIFF: for kids” opened with the screening of the finalists of the children’s film competition “Children KinoFest”. On the same day, an art project “Cold Faith” started under the “Art-OIFF” programme.
Closing the second day of the Odesa Film Festival was the traditional open-air cinema performance on the Potemkin Stairs, presenting one of the last silent French films – “The Ladies’ Paradise”, based on Emile Zola’s eponymous novel. The music for the film was written by Canadian composer Gabriel Thibaudeau. For the first time in the history of the Odesa Film Festival, the screening on the Potemkin Stairs featured both a symphony orchestra and a vocalist – the vocal parts were performed by opera singer Sophie Fournier.
And late at night, the festival club Caleton featured a performance by Olia Dibrova – ex-vocalist of the projects Gorchitza and DVOE.
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