OIFF-2018: Day 8

OIFF-2018, Day 8: Final Screenings of the Competition Films, First Awards, Workshops and Other Events on the Penultimate Day of the Festival

On the penultimate day of the 9th Odesa Film Festival the last films of the International Competition Program were shown: Styx and Thunder Road; the screenings also included the Cannes FIPRESCI award winner, Burning, and Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot by Gus Van Sant. In addition, a special OIFF event – the Investors Club meeting, and the award ceremony of the first winners of the festival were held.

On July 20, the best films of the National Competition Program according to the Jury of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) were announced in the OIFF’s Festival Palace. The prize of the best feature film was awarded to Delta, a documentary by Oleksander Techynskiy, and the best short film – Magnetic Storm by emerging director Igor Hanskiy.

The international competition program ended with two films. The first of them was the Austrian-German drama Styx (dir. Wolfgang Fischer), the premiere screening of which took place at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, where the film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. The film tells the story of a strong, successful woman who is the only person to come to rescue of a group of refugees on the high seas. At the OIFF the film was presented by the director himself, together with the scriptwriter Ika Künzel and actress Zuzanna Wolf. “We did not want anything to look artificial in the movie, that's why we filmed everything in the high seas near Italy. It was difficult both physically and psychologically. This is why everything looks real," – shared the director.

Thunder Road (dir. Jim Cummings) is an American comedy drama about a policeman who, despite all the misery and challenges of fate, is doing his best to remain optimistic. The movie is based on the short film of the same name, the winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. OIFF is the second European festival in which Thunder Road is screened. The film was presented by the director, who is also the script writer and the lead actor in the film. “I closed down in the basement and worked on the new scenario for about a week. Two months later, shooting began," – he said.

The screening of the final block of the short films competition included the following shorts: Magnetic Storm (dir. Igor Hanskiy), Swings (dir. Valeria Sochyvets), 8 Hours (dir. Liena Shulika) and Crocodile (dir. Kateryna Gornostai).

The documentary Distant Constellation directed Shevaun Mizrahi closed the European documentary competition program. “The film is built on the subconscious, I did not write dialogs or questions; instead, I allowed people to say whatever they wanted to say," – said the director.

The last film in the OIFF-2018’s Gala Premiere section was Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, directed by Gus Van Sant, with Joaquin Phoenix and Mara Rooney in the main roles. This comedy drama, was in this year’s Berlinale’s Main Competition and tells a touching and inspiring story of a wheelchair-bound man John, who finds beauty and humor in the depths of human experience and applies his artistic talent to transform them into unmatched cartoons. Among others, Gus Van Sant has been awarded with the Cannes Palme d’Or for his film Elephant (2003).

Festival Center Rodina housed a workshop by Igor Minaev, a member of the jury of the international competition program, director and scriptwriter. It was titled Director as the Author of the Film. “I love all the processes in the cinema: from script writing to the final stage and film release," – shared the director. Katriel Schori, the director of the Israeli Film Fund, who won the honorary Berlinale Camera this year for his contribution to the Israeli cinema, gave a workshop on Low Budget Filmmaking. “Make low-budget movies to keep the dynamics and movement rather than spend years waiting for the money for your dream film. However, remember: it is impossible to build a grand career on low-budget films only," – said Katriel Schori.

Burning, a South Korean psychological drama about modern youth, directed by Lee Chang-dong, which received this year's FIPRESCI Cannes Film Festival prize, was shown as a part of the OIFF’s Festival of Festivals program. Another film shown this day was the French Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, who won the Palme d’Or in 2013 with his film Blue Is the Warmest Color. In addition, the films Prayer (dir. Cédric Kahn) and Human Flow (dir. Ai Weiwei) were shown for the second time.

The section Focus: 70 Years of Israeli Cinema featured the film Live and Become (dir. Radu Mikhaileanu), while the Series! section ended with screening of several episodes of the Belgian series The Day (directors: Gilles Coulier and Dries Vos, scriptwriters: Jonas Geirnaert and Julie Mahieu). The film Suzaku was shown as a part of Naomi Kawasi Retrospective.

Il Decameron Clubhouse Odessa hosted a closed meeting of iClub, the first Ukrainian private investors club founded by the venture fund TA Ventures. The event was a part of the OIFF business program and brought together business owners, investors, innovators, and representatives of creative industries.

The Work in Progress presentation of Ukrainian film productions and co-production projects at the final stage of production took place as a part of the Film Industry Office. A Polish-Ukrainian co-production meeting was held (supported by the Polish Film Institute and the Open Poland program), and a panel discussion – New Financial Opportunities in Ukraine. The winning ScripTeast Series, Pitching, and Work in Progress projects received their awards from the Film Industry Office. The night finished in the Festival Club Caleton with a Dao Park show; this band is experimenting with Funk, Neo-Soul, and Hip-Hop.

We would like to draw the attention of film fans to some of the tomorrow’s screenings. As a part of the Festival of Festivals section, the Festival Center Rodina will show the Chinese film, An Elephant Sitting Still, directed by Hu Bo (FIPRESCI Award at 2018 Berlinale), while the section Focus: 70 Years of Israeli Cinema will end with the film Ajami (dir. Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti), who received a Golden Camera – a Special Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. In addition, the screening of the Closing Film of the 9th Odessa International Film Festival, The Trouble with You (dir. Pierre Salvadori) is scheduled to take place in the Festival Palace.