Winners of the proMOTION programme: Ukrainian Institute to support five films with the highest international potential

The expert commission of proMOTION, a long-term programme to support the international promotion of Ukrainian cinema by the Ukrainian Institute, has selected five Ukrainian films that will receive up to 150,000 UAH for their international promotion campaigns.

Winners of the proMOTION 2020 programme:

  • A short film “Anna”

Directed by: Dekel Berenson. Producers: Vitalii Sheremetiev, Olha Beskhmelnitsyna. Film production company: “ESSE Production House” Co-production of Ukraine, Great Britain and Israel.

The film premiered at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or – Best Short Film (the Palme d’Or is the festival’s main award in the short film category). The film was also shortlisted for BAFTA and won Best British Short at the 22nd British Independent Film Awards. Now the film has a great chance to be nominated for the Oscar in 2021.

The film tells the story of Anna, a middle-aged woman who lives with her teenage daughter in Eastern Ukraine. She works at a meat processing plant and is desperate for a change for a better life. One day, she hears an ad about a party where foreign men are looking for love and want to meet Ukrainian women. To change her routine, Anna decides to go to the party.

  • “Fairytale about the Wood Horse”, a documentary, animation, cinema verite

Directed by: Uliana Osovska, Denys Strashnyi. Producers: Denys Strashny, Uliana Osovska; co-producer: Ülo Pikkov (Estonia). Production company: “Docutoloka”.

Back in Soviet times, Anatolii Liutiuk has left Ukraine and now lives the life of a monk in the centre of Tallinn. For the past 20 years, he has been praying daily for the preservation of nature and all life on earth. He spends all his time in the workshops making wooden toys and books in old monastery technologies. When the war starts in Ukraine, Anatolii can not stand on the sidelines. Supported by the Estonian government, he goes to the Donbas region with humanitarian aid in search of those who need help the most. In his travels along the front line, he learns about the life and needs of local residents and gets deeper into the stark reality of the “grey zone”.

  • “Michel”, a documentary film

Directed by: Hanna Yaroshevych. Producer: Olena Yakovitska. Production company: “Tabor”.

Michel is a young German who lives in a small village in the Carpathians and is engaged in breeding and saving an endangered species – water buffaloes. While having lived on an old farm in Ukraine for ten years, he learned the local dialect and earned the name of “The buffaloes’ last friend”. Due to Michel’s work, the population of Carpathian buffaloes has increased from a few dozen to over two hundred. While thousands of Ukrainians emigrate abroad to earn money, a foreigner takes a radically different decision to move to Ukraine for permanent residency, become useful for the society and find his life’s work. By watching Michel’s life, we show the culture and incredible nature of the Ukrainian Carpathians to viewers from all over the world. We see that Ukraine is interesting to foreigners as a tourist destination, and even more – as a place to live.

  • “Between the Wars” (“This Rain Will Never End”), a documentary film

Directed by: Alina Horlova. Producers: Maksym Nakonechnyi, Ilona Bichevska, Patrick Gamm. Production company: “Tabor”. Co-production of Ukraine, Latvia, Germany and Qatar.

Escaping from the war in Syria to his mother’s homeland, young Kurd Andrii and his family suddenly find themselves in the middle of the war in Ukraine. Having witnessed two conflicts, Andrii decides to work for the Red Cross. By watching his adventures, we start a slow journey through war zones, refugee camps, military parades, humanitarian missions, religious, wedding and funeral customs of Ukraine, Iraq, Syria and Germany.

  • “The Floor is Lava(Stop-Zemlia), a coming-of-age drama

Producer: Kateryna Hornostai. Producers: Vitalii Sheremetiev, Olha Beskhmelnitsyna, Viktoriia Khomenko, Natalia Libet. Film production company: “ESSE Production House”

Full-length feature début, coming-of-age drama. The story about the first sensual experience, love, friendship, and responsibility. A 16-year-old Masha is going through the stressful everyday life of the last school year. She is supported by close friends Yana and Sienia, who share the same experience, as well as parents who are very worried about their daughter, but raise her as a person with freedom of action and thought. Another detail that haunts Masha and occupies her mind is a classmate Sasha who will test her courage at a crucial moment.

The proMOTION programme was developed by the Ukrainian Institute to boost the audience, presence and visibility of Ukrainian films overseas, as well as to strengthen Ukrainian filmmakers’ ability to cooperate in the international film market. Only films at the final stages of production and ready for festival or cinema distribution were eligible to participate in the contest.

The winners were selected by five members of the expert jury: Olha Birzul, Head of Film Programmes; Natalie Movshovych, Film Programme Manager; Daria Badior, film critic, curator of the Kyiv Critique Week; Illya Diadyk, Programme Director of the film distribution company Arthouse Traffic; Kyrylo Marikutsa, Director and co-founder of the Kyiv International Short Film Festival (KISFF) and the KyivMusicFilm project.

>> To the programme page >>