Briefly about the Odessa Film Festival
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It is the main platform which unites Ukrainian and foreign film professionals in one area. Which takes care of popularization of Ukrainian films and it's been ten years already that it offers pompous open-closing ceremonies, interesting premieres, internationally awarded new films, interesting workshops and, generally, unique festival atmosphere. This year, 10th Odessa International Film Festival was held on July 12-20.

The festival has several competition programmes: National Feature and National Short competition, European Documentary Competition and International Competition (Feature). As a rule, festival Grand-Prix is awarded by the audience. In other nominations (The best film, best director, best actor), films are judged by the invited jury of the festival. The head of the jury this year was Belgian filmmaker Peter Brosens. Other members were: Ukrainian actress Ivanna Sakhno, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival director Karel Och, Irish actor Barry Ward and Georgian writer and filmmaker Nana Ekvtimishvili.

12 films participated in International Competition, including Levan Akin's And Then We Danced; a film which gained lot of positive response in Cannes and very talked-about British production with Tilda Swinton playing the lead, The Souvenir by Joanna Hogg.

At the closing ceremony held on July 20, at first, audience's favorite, grand-prix winner films (two this time) were announced - And Then We Danced by Levan Akin and Homeward by Nariman Aliev, followed by the announcement of jury winners. Levan Akin and his love story And Then We Danced became the winner of 10th Odessa International Film Festival. "This award belongs to every brave youngster. It belongs to the organizers of the first Gay pride parade in Georgia held in 2013 and to those who stand in front of the parliament right now" - Levan Akin's words were read at the stage by the producer Keti Danelia, who was there to gain the award. Levan Gelbakhiani, who plays a leading role in Akin's movie, got the prize for the best actor.

The winner of the National Competition became Antonio Lukich's film My Thoughts Are Silent, which got an FIPRESCI award the day before. By the way, the same film got a special jury prize at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the section East of the West.

At the closing ceremony, the audience saw Teona Strugar Mitevska's film God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya, which was participating in the competition at the same time and it got The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and German Art House Cinema Association award.

The retrospective of films starring Catherine Deneuve was also held during the festival and the actress herself visited the festival, which held a special meeting with her audience. Before the screening of the film Farewell to the Night, she said: "Actually, this is the film that I loved. I love the story, the plot. And I really like the character that I play. This film, which quite clearly sets out the position. I think the tape will be very close to women."

In fact, looking back at the programme of the festival, it's easy to be sure that this festival offered the best films of the year. For example, in the section Festival of Festivals, there was screened internationally acknowledged new films: Nadav Lapid's Synonymes (Berlinale winner), Isaki Lacuesta's Between Two Waters (San Sebastian winner), Bong Joon-ho's Parasite (Cannes winner), Kantemir Balagov's Beanpole (Golden Apricot winner).

In the section Gala Premieres, the audience saw Ken Loach's social drama Sorry We Missed You, Jim Jarmusch's The Dead don't Die, Fatih Akin's The Golden Glove and many more.

In the Special Screenings, there were presented Sergey Loznitsa's The Trial, Milos Forman's Loves of a Blonde and Agnes Varda's Varda by Agnès.

Besides, the retrospective show of Mike Leigh was held and the audience took pleasure of watching the films of British filmmaker once more.

It is to note that Levan Akin's Georgian-Swedish production And Then We Danced took the seventh place in 10 selected films at Cannes film festival. And the American magazine W, named Georgian actor Levan Gelbakhiani among 15 stars of Cannes Film Festival 2019.

In different years, Odesa Film Festival winner Georgian films were: Levan Koghuashvili's Blind Dates and My Happy Family by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß.


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