The grand closing ceremony of the 8th odesa international film festival
On July 22 at the Odesa Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre took place the grand closing ceremony of the 8th OIFF. The main prize – the Grand Prix – based on the results of the audience vote was awarded to the film “King of the Belgians” by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth. Director Roman Bondarchuk became the recepient of the Golden Duke’ for the film “Dixie Land” in the nomination “Best Feature Film”. “The Leading Role” by Serhiy Bukovsky became the best documentary. Isabelle Huppert and Agnieszka Holland received awards for their contribution to cinema.

The closing ceremony began with the performance of the Ukrainian ballet troupe D'Arts Dance Project, after which the hosts Yanina Sokolova and Oleh Paniuta invited to the stage Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Rosenko, the Head of the Ukrainian State Film Agency Pylyp Illenko. The Minister of Culture of Ukraine Yevhen Nyshchuk presented actress Lia Akhedzhakova with a symbolic gift – a painting of her together with actor Bogdan Stupka. Today was a 5-year anniversary of the death of the great Ukrainian. “We were partners on the stage, did plays together. A partner is more than just a friend. A partner is someone special,” said Lia Akhedzhakova.

The winner of the European Documentary Competition was announced first. It became the film “The Leading Role” by Sergey Bukovsky, which was presented in two competition programmes simultaneously. The award was received by Serhiy Bukovsky and his mother, actress Nina Antonova. “My mother said, “Do not shoot me – I'm too small, no one will see me. Mom is small, but very strong. And you have to try very hard to spoil her character. I hope that I have not spoiled it,” said Serhiy Bukovsky. The award was presented by Roman Bondarchuk and Marianna Kaat.

The FIPRESCI prize was awarded to a Ukrainian short film “Lilac” by Kateryna Gornostai. Also, the FIPRESCI jury recognized the film “Black Level” by Valentin Vasyanovych as the best Ukrainian feature film. Actress Kateryna Molchanova starred in both winning films.

The jury of the National Competition named Pavlo Ostrikov’s “Graduation '97” the best Ukrainian short film. Nina Antonova was awarded the Best Actor award for the film “The Leading Role”. The winner of the Golden Duke became the film “Dixie Land” by Roman Bondarchuk (Ukraine, Latvia, Germany). “This film took 7 years to make, 7 years of our life,” said Roman Bondarchuk. The film “The Strayed” by Arkadii Nepytaliuk got a special mention from the Jury of the National Competition, as did “Lilac” by Kateryna Gornostai.

The International Jury, led by Christian Petzold, issued a special mention for presenting a mixture of fiction and reality from to the film by Jun Geng “Free and Easy” (China). The ensemble of actors from the Georgian film “My Happy Family” (Georgia, Germany) by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross won in the nomination “Best Acting Work”. Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross also became the best directors of the International Competition Programme. The best film of the International Competition, according to the jury, became “Summer 1993” (Spain) by Carla Simon. This is a film about 6-year-old Frida, who, after the death of her parents, moves from Barcelona to live with her uncle’s family. “All week we had arguments and discussions, but the main award was discussed for about 10 minutes. “Summer 1993” is a very personal film about personal experiences from childhood. And its narration is very balanced. This is the power of cinema – you take what has happened a long time ago, and experience it anew,” noted the Head of the Jury Christian Petzold.

The audience, though, gave preference to the film “King of the Belgians” (Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria) by Peter Brosens and Jesse Woodworth – the film received the Grand Prix of the 8th Odesa Film Festival. Producer of the film Mira Staleva: “I want to thank the Odesa audience and say that I saw how this festival started and developed, and how it is becoming more and more powerful. In the second year of the festival, I came to Odesa to pick up the award for another Bulgarian film, on which I did not work, and now I stand here, receiving the Grand Prix for my own film”.

The great Polish director, screenwriter, three-time Oscar nominee Agnieszka Holland was awarded for her contribution to cinema: “Ukraine has its own cinematic voice. You do have stories to tell.” The award was presented by actress Larisa Kadochnikova. Also, French actress Isabelle Huppert received the Golden Duke for her contribution to cinema from the hands of the OIFF president Viktoriya Tigipko. “I have a special relationship to your country. Several years ago, I was in the film “The Flood” directed by Igor Minaiev (Press service: Minaiev worked at the Odessa film studio), so I wanted to come here,” said Isabelle Huppert. Also, the actress noted that now she wants to make a film in Ukraine.

At the press briefing after the awards ceremony, Viktoriya Tigipko said: “Our wonderful team remains unchanged for many years. But there are more of us now, and we added two new locations. You yourself must have noticed that there is not enough space in the locations where the festival’s events usually take place. We need more space. Because this is important not only for local cinephiles, but also for foreign guests. Every year we invite 4000 film professionals to come here. And our mission remains unchanged.”

The closing film of the 8th OIFF was the nominee for the main prize of Berlinale “The Party” by Sally Potter. The director’s films received more than 40 international awards, as well as nominations from the American Film Academy and BAFTA.

After the closing ceremony, in the sculpture garden of the Odesa Literary Museum, a grand reception was held with the support of the official partner of OIFF, JSC “TASKOBMANK”.

We remind you that on July 21, the ceremony of awarding prizes to the best film projects of Work in Progress, winners of Pitching and the Odesa IFF ScripTeast Series Projects took place.