Focus: Ukraine-France. A pilot showcase for film critics

The programme “Focus: Ukraine-France” included six metropolitan premieres of contemporary hits of Ukrainian and French cinema, jointly selected by film critics of the participating countries.

“Focus: Ukraine-France” is a pilot programme of the Kyiv Critics Week and the Ukrainian Institute, which organises Ukrainian film shows for the international professional community. The programme changes its geographical focus every year. The French Institute in Ukraine became the programme’s partner for the 2020 year.

“We strive to create a professional community of international and Ukrainian film critics to develop modern film criticism and increase the visibility of Ukrainian cinema abroad. Conceptually, the first focal country was France, where the film criticism press has been an important and integral part of the film process for more than a century,” said Olga Birzul, Head of Cinema at the Ukrainian Institute.

The programme included Kyiv premieres of the main Ukrainian films of the year – “Atlantis” by Valentyn Vasyanovych, “Bad Roads” by Natalia Vorozhbyt and “Numbers” by Oleg Sentsov and Akhtem Seitablaev. The directors presented them to the audience in person. Guests of the festival also got an opportunity to see French festival films – “Blind Zone” by Patrick-Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic, “Southern Terminal” by Rabach Ammer-Zaimesh and “You Deserve a Lover” by Hafsia Herzi.

Critics from both countries and the directors have joined the discussions after the screenings. The program was attended by Juliet Hoffar (author of Études, Sofilm) and members of the Syndicate of French Film Critics, which is the founder of the Cannes Critics’ Week – Leo Soesanto (Libération, Les Inrockuptibles, Premiere) and Olivier Partisson (Bande à Part, Bref). The Ukrainian side was represented by the curators of the Kyiv Critics’ Week – Daria Badior, Serhiy Ksaverov, Anna Datsyuk and Stanislav Bytyutky.

Kyiv Critics’ Week is an international film festival created to acquaint Ukrainian viewers with the best new films selected by professional Ukrainian film critics. The 4th festival took place in the Zhovten cinema from October 22 to 28, 2020. At the opening of the festival, there was a ceremony of awarding the annual national prize of film critics “KINOKOLO”. The festival is organised by Arthouse Traffic with the support of the State Agency of Ukraine for Cinematography. The partners of the programme “Focus: Ukraine-France” became the Ukrainian Institute and the French Institute in Ukraine.