Cannes 2022 is taking place amid humanitarian and climate crises as well as armed conflict, the organizers noted, cognizant of the situation in Ukraine, which has been at war since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent in forces on February 24, vowing to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the nation. Marche du Film, or Cannes Film Market, the business counterpart of the festival, has accordingly set aside May 21 as ‘Ukraine Day’. 

The Cannes festival runs from May 17 to 28. 

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As per the organizers, there will be an “action-packed Ukraine in Focus program with targeted events designed to support filmmaking in the war-torn territory and provide Ukrainian film industry professionals with networking opportunities, pitching sessions and financing opportunities”. 

It is comprised of the following events – 

Ukrainian Producers Under the Spotlight

Hosted by the Producers Network in collaboration with the Ukrainian Institute, six promising producers will be presented. They are Denis Ivanov (Arthouse Traffic), Darya Bassel (Moon Man), Natalia Libet (Digital Religion), Sashko Chubko (Pronto Film), Olga Beskhmelnytskina (ESSE Production House) and Vladimir Yatsenko (Forefilms).

Ukraine Docs-in-Progress Showcase

Cannes Docs, in partnership with DocuDays & the Ukrainian Institute will present this, and the section will comprise of 4 documentaries in progress, which will be unveiled as a pitch along with 10 minutes of footage of the rough cut. This is aimed at gaining the attention of the documentary decision-makers, festival programmers, as well as sales agents. 

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They include 

Company of Steel (Залізна сотня/ Zalizna Sotnya)

Dir: Yuliia Hontaruk Prod: Yuliia Hontaruk, Ivanna Khitsinska, Alexandra Bratyshchenko, Igor Savychenko

Lagoons. Battle for Paradise

Dir:  Serhii Lysenko Prod:  Anna Kapustina, Oleksandra Kravchenko

Listening to the World

Dir:  Liza Smith Prod: Olha Beskhmelnytsina, Eugene Rachkovsky

Peace for Nina

Dir:  Zhanna Maksymenko-Dovhych Prod: Lyuba Knorozok, Dea Gjinovci

Ukrainian Cinema: From Surviving to Thriving Again

This includes an insightful panel discussion where the global film community can come together and discuss how best to help and support Ukraine’s film industry during this troubled time. 

Organizers note “Ukrainian cinema had to press the pause button on production undetermined period of time. Immense damage has occurred, not just to human lives and urban structures, but also to cultural development. Ukrainian filmmakers had to put their cameras down and replace them with weapons.” 

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They believe “Now is the time for the global film market to come together to reflect on how the community can support Ukrainian culture. With the contribution of International and Ukrainian film professionals, this talk will focus both on problem-solving in response to immediate issues at hand and a hopeful glance into the future of Ukrainian cinema and its possible regeneration”. 

Ukraine at Goes to Cannes 

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF), Northern Europe’s only A-category film festival teams up with the Marché du Film’s Goes to Cannes program, presenting a range of Ukrainian feature films in the post-production stage, seeking sales agents, distributors or a festival selection. There will also be a special Ukrainian Features Preview.

The movies to be shown include 

The Editorial Office (Редакція)

Director: Roman Bondarchuk

Producers: Darya Bassel – Moon Man and Darya Averchenko – South Films and Tanja

Georgieva-Waldhauer – Elemag Pictures

The Glass House (Дім за склом)

Director: Taras Dron

Producers: Igor Savychenko – Directory Films and Valeria Sochyvets – Contemporary Ukrainian Сinema, Rodrigo Ruiz Tarazona – Сіnelab and Taras Dron – Nord Production

Do You Love Me? (Do You Love Me?)

Director: Tonia Noyabrova

Producers: Anastasiia Bukovska, Danylo Kaptyukh – Family Production

Demons (Демони)

Director: Natalka Vorozhbyt

Producers: Dmytro Minzianov – Kristi Film and Denis Ivanov – Arthouse Traffic

Chrysantemum Day (Свято Хризантем)

Director: Simon Mozgovyi

Producers: Alex Chepiga, Artem Koliubaiev, Daryna Zakharova, Kateryna Lachyna – Mainstream Pictures LLC

Ukrainian Films Now

Marché du Film has expressed complete patronage and endorsement of this initiative by EAVE, First Cut Lab and When East Meets West, which brings together regional and national film funds in Europe to support Ukrainian movies in the final stages of post-production, so they may make up the financial gap. 

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Organizers said, “We believe this action to be one of the tools that can solidly contribute to Ukrainian audiovisual productions at this challenging time for its audiovisual industry. Furthermore, we trust that with this direct help, the Ukrainian cinema will continue its existence in the coming months and will make new films visible and accessible to an international audience.” 

Ukraine at Cannes – selections and honours

Apart from the business section, the Cannes film festival will also honour Ukraine via the Official Selection as well as parallel sections. Three Ukrainian films are slated to have world premieres at Cannes, including Maksim Nakonechnkyi’s Butterfly Vision (Un Certain Regard), Sergei Loznitsa’s The Natural History of Destruction (Special Screenings) and Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s Pamfir (Director’s Fortnight). 

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Zhanna Ozirna’s Ground Zero has been selected for La Fabrique Cinéma (Institut Français). Also, Iryna Tsilyk, Ukrainian director and screenwriter, is a member of the L’Oeil d’Or Jury.