Ukrainian documentary film projects presentations at the Nordisk Panorama festival (Sweden)
About the project
Ukrainian Institute, together with the Nordisk Panorama Film Festival and the French company Newen Studios, invited Ukrainian directors and producers to submit their documentary film projects to the Nordisk Panorama Film Festival.
Applications were accepted until 28 August inclusive.
7 film projects were selected. Teams consisting of a director and a producer from each project will have the opportunity to present their films to European producers. The documentary projects applying should be looking for international co-production possibilities and must be in the production or post-production stage.
Selected documentary projects
- A bit of a stranger, director Svitlana Lishchynska, producer Anna Kapustina
- Displaced, director Olha Zhurba, producer Darya Bassel
- Flowers of Ukraine, director Adelina Borets, producers Glib Lukianets, Natalia Grzegorzek
- Lagoons. Battle for Paradise, director Serhiy Lysenko, producers Anna Kapustina, Oleksandra Kravchenko
- Listening to the world, director Yelizaveta Smith, producer Olga Beskhmelnytsina
- The blessed ones, director Andrii Lysetskyi, producers Gennady Kofman, Olga Beskhmelnytsina, coproducer Uldis Cekulis
- The Shadows, director Polina Kelm, producer Valeria Sochyvets
Learn more about selected documentary projects
Director Svitlana Lishchynska, producers Anna Kapustina, Oleksandra Kravchenko
The year 2021. A film director Svitlana from Mariupol films her family who have lost their national identity due to a long-term imperial policy of Moscow. In 2022, Russia invades Ukraine, destroying Mariupol. How will this affect the family’s conscience and identity?
Director Olha Zhurba, producer Darya Bassel
The film depicts the mass tragedy of people who came face to face with a large-scale war.
Events unfold in different parts of Ukraine from the first days of the war and up to the present day. It captures a collective portrait of Ukrainians fleeing the grindstones of war, and those who stayed and are forced to adapt to life under constant shelling.
Director Adelina Borets, producers Glib Lukianets, Natalia Grzegorzek
Mrs. Natalia is 67 years old. She lives on a plot of land in Kyiv where she was born, gave birth to her children, and where she wishes to spend the rest of her days. She is fighting developers who are erecting a massive housing estate around.
Her plot looks like a mess. It is, however, a paradise on earth for Natalia. When the war breaks out, Natalia does not leave her land defending not only her territory but also her city. She decides to join the Kyiv Civil Defense, being upbeat and cracking jokes – the way Natalia goes to the victory.
Director Serhiy Lysenko, producer Anna Kapustina
During one year, the wheel of wildlife at Tuzly Lagoons Nature Park in Ukraine comes full circle, as people who want to live as a part of Nature, fight those who only want to use it. Heavenly landscapes inhabited by rare animals and birds become a stronghold for the dangerous struggle of Ivan and Iryna, the two park managers and activists, against the poachers, illegal developers and corrupted politicians.
Director Yelizaveta Smith, producer Olga Beskhmelnytsina
IVA (40) is an art curator and human rights activist and at the same time a person with a disability. She was losing the opportunity to hear from the moment she was a child, but she remembers how to speak. Recently she lost the ability to hear any sounds. This circumstance influences all fields of her life, especially communication with people around: her ex-husband, parents and teenage son. When WAR started Iva and Mykyta (her son) were in Kharkiv which is 70 kilometers from the border with Russia. It was a rare moment when Iva heard something – she heard the bombing. After a week of living under bombing and sitting in shelter Iva and Mykyta decided to leave the city. They stayed at the train station for 20 hours in a panicking crowd to take the evacuation train to Lviv. But Lviv happened to be not a safe place either. The emergency alarm of air bombing happens every day, Russia bombes Lviv. Iva and Mykyta, like thousands of other people, stayed in an underground shelter every night. Iva’s sister and her two children also came to Lviv from Kharkiv, but they decided to stay in Ukraine. So it was a powerful and sad moment of a family falling to pieces when Iva and Mykyta decided to leave the country because they couldn’t feel safe anywhere. Iva and Mykyta crossed a border to Poland, where they stayed for a few nights in the church in Przemyśl. They left on a train from Poland to a small city under Berlin and joined the commune that hosts them. The peaceful life feels unusual and weird. Iva and Mykyta are trying to be part of the commune but Iva’s disability makes it very complicated because she is not able to hear and she can’t learn German. Iva gets through an appointment with a doctor to check her auditory nerve. The doctor concludes that the auditory nerve is alive and Iva can make surgery to implant a Cochlear implant. In Ukraine stayed Iva’s boyfriend Vitalyi, who is working in the tank factory in Kharkiv. He proposed marriage to Iva so now she is planning to come back at least for some time to Ukraine to get married. When the war ends we will film Iva and Mykyta way back to Ukraine. The moment of them coming back in totally ruined Kharkiv, meeting family and friends, trying to come back to life.
Director Andrii Lysetskyi, producers Gennady Kofman, Olga Beskhmelnytsina, coproducer Uldis Cekulis
Four idiosyncratic Ukrainians from the world of art are thrown, overnight, into the world of war. At 5:00 AM on February 24, when Russian troops invaded Ukraine, the lives of all four changed profoundly. An important question now faces them all, the question that, in Europe, had not been asked for several generations – what is the role of an artist at the time of war? The film will be alternating between four stories and following the artists who seek an answer to that question, each in his own distinctive way.
Daniil’s story is about processing trauma. He comes from the once magnificent seaside city of Mariupol, and he spent the first weeks of the war in a basement, fleeing the incessant shelling by Russian artillery. Eventually, he evacuated to Kyiv, and is now processing the bomb shelter experience through a series of poignant drawings. The film will show Daniil’s creative process and his adaptation to a new city and a new routine.
Nikita was preparing to travel to an artist residency in Austria when Russia invaded Ukraine. Nikita sees his mission in bringing the story of war to the wider world through the industrial objects that have been transformed by atrocities. The film will follow Nikita traveling through war-ravaged cities, collecting various items from the bombed-out apartments, for an exhibition in the Museum Quarter in Vienna.
Mikhail’s focus is on fragile objects he would spend days carefully putting together, such as a crystal ashtray, which has been shattered to hundreds of pieces by gunfire. The film will observe his endeavors of providing a second life to delicate things, a process reminiscent of the very undertaking Ukrainians will have to endure to be able to have a life after the shocks of war.
Anton could not see himself in art at the time of war and has exchanged a restorer’s brush for a gun. He joined the National Guard in the early days of war. The film will see him catching his breath between deployments and then traveling back to the frontline, where he is serving alongside his father, a famous artist.
The film will tell the stories of combat and creation gently and intimately, letting the artists reveal and reflect on their individual choices.
Director Polina Kelm, producer Valeria Sochyvets
Documentary ‘The Shadows’ was supposed to tell the audience about homeless people who ended up on the street due to various life circumstances. Through the camera lens of photographer Oleksandr Chekmenyov, who has been making the ‘Invisible’ photo project about people who ended up on the street for several years. He does not perceive them as antisocial elements, but treats as equals, and helps them if there is an opportunity. Oleksandr considers this a kind of karma that he has to work off. He himself comes from the Luhansk region and has not been able to return to his small homeland for several years because of the war. His works are similar to paintings. It captures only the faces of people we usually pass by, trying not to notice them. But in Oleksandr’s photographs, life itself looks at the viewer – frank, scary, but at the same time fascinating. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the concept of homeless has changed. Now anyone can be homeless and displaced. Those whom we tried to bypass and not notice, now anyone can become them. It’s like some terrible endless lottery. And it became interesting for me to explore what home is, in the metaphorical sense of the word.
Why do we try to cling to it even when there is no physical object left? Why is this so important? Why it gives us strength and takes it away when it disappears. What is actually hidden n this meaning.
About Nordisk Panorama Film Festival
Nordisk Panorama Film Festival is a significant event in the Nordic and European film industry, offering audiences and film professionals the best of the newest Nordic Short and Documentary films together with a range of industry events for the past 32 years. This year’s Film Festival in Malmö, Sweden, will take place on 22-27 September.
In addition to pitching their projects, Ukrainian teams will get a chance to participate in other industry events offered by the festival. In particular, familiarise themself with the grant opportunities of the Nordic region and Germany. As well as, to have individual meetings with European producers for consultations or to discuss potential cooperation. The festival covers transportation to and from Sweden, accommodation, and daily expenses.
Anita Reher is the Executive Director of Nordisk Panorama, the festival for Nordic documentaries and short films featuring industry events such as the Forum for Co-Financing of Documentaries, the Short Film Pitch, the Nordic Market & Conference, and year-round activities bringing Nordic filmmaker delegations to the world.
Anita is a strong believer in the importance of diverse and independent voices in non-fiction filmmaking and in pushing the boundaries of creative storytelling.
Prior to coming to Nordisk Panorama, Anita was Executive Director of The Flaherty in New York, the organizer of the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar; the Flaherty NYC film screening series; and the Flaherty Preservation Initiative, which includes both audio and print collections. The Flaherty presents cutting edge films to foster dialog between filmmakers and audiences and is the longest running film event in North America.
Anita was one of the co-founders of the European Documentary Network (EDN), a non-profit membership-based association with members from 60 countries. As EDN’s first Network Manager she was responsible for developing its structure and coordinated 50+ international workshops on pitching, storytelling, and distribution.
Anita started her career with the EU MEDIA Program at the Creative Documentary Project helping filmmakers with development and promotion support. She is active in international film communities and has served on festival juries and as a mentor.
Teddy Leifer founded Rise Films in 2006.
Its award-winning productions include The Invisible War (Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner), The Interrupters (Emmy® winner), Icarus (Oscar® winner), Knuckle (Sundance world premiere), Dreamcatcher (Sundance winner), We Are Together (Tribeca winner), Rough Aunties (Sundance winner), The Human Factor (Telluride world premiere), Mayor (Peabody winner) and The Art of Political Murder (executive produced by George Clooney).
Teddy’s latest feature, All That Breathes directed by Shaunak Sen is the only film ever to have won both the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival – where the film premiered in 2022.
His other recent productions include George Carlin’s American Dream, a two-part documentary for HBO directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, which just received five Emmy nominations and Once Upon A Time In Londongrad, a timely political about 14 mysterious UK deaths with alleged Russia links.
He is currently in production with a feature length finale of the multi award-winning Plebs, following a five series run as the most watched ITV2 comedy in the channel’s history, written and directed by his brother, Sam.
Teddy was recently listed in the “100 most innovative and influential people in British creative and media industries” by the Guardian newspaper. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America and BAFTA.
Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær, PGA
Founding Producer Real Lava.
Producer Sigrid Dyekjær has produced more than 30 documentary films during the last 22 years.
She is the producer of the Oscar nominated film 2020 The Cave by Feras Fayyad where she won an Emmy for best producer and is nominated for a Peabody Award. She won best producer at Cinema Eye 2020 for The Cave, and was nominated for Producers Guild of America also in 2020.
She premiered her newest documentary film in her new company Real Lava, at Sundance 2022 The Territory by Alex Pritz, which won 2 Awards at Sundanc, Audience Award and Jury´s special award for Best Craft and has just picked up its 9th. Award already this year. The film is produced together with Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Mother etc.). It was picked up by National Geographic and will be on an Academy Run in 2022.
She has produced the Oscar-nominee Hanna Polak’s Something Better to Come, which had theatrical release in the US and won more than 80 awards. For this, Sigrid was nominated at the Producers Guild of America Awards 2016 for Outstanding Producer of Documentary.
Sigrid is a Producers Guild of America member. She has produced in 2019 Love Child by Eva Mulvad, winner of Chicago Film Festival, sold to POV, I Walk by the acclaimed Danish Director Jørgen Leth (5 obstructions with Lars von Trier), School of Seduction by Alina Rudtnitskaya, Aquarela by Victor Kossakovsky, shortlisted for on Oscar in 2020,
Hunting for Hedonia by Pernille Rose Grønkjær and Scandinavian Star series in 6 episodes by director Mikala Krogh, premiering in 2020 and co-produced Lauren Greenfields film The Kingmaker 2020 and Ulrich Seidls film SAFARI.
Of previous work, she produced of BUGS (premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. It won the Food Smart Cities Award at the Cinemambiente Festival in Torino in 2016 and was chosen for more than 50 festivals worldwide) and executive produced Ai Weiwei – The Fake Case by Andreas Johnsen. Ai Weiwei – The Fake Case was released theatrically in the US and was the winner of the Film Critics’ Award in Denmark, the Bodil, and a nominee at IDFA’s feature length competition. Amongst other renowned titles, she is the producer of The Monastery (Winner of the Joris Ivens Price, IDFA 2006) by Pernille Rose, The Newsroom – Off The Record by Mikala Krogh (opened Baltic Sea Forum, won Best Documentary at the Copenhagen TV-festival in 2015 and has been sold to over 7 countries), Free the Mind by Phie Ambo (theatrical release in the US), The Good Life (Best doc award, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2011) and A Modern Man (CPH:DOX and Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017) by Eva Mulvad and furthmore, she has produced Max Kestner’s Amateurs in Space, which premiered in competition at IDFA 2017.
Sigrid is one of the most experienced producers in Denmark, when it comes to financing and production of international documentary films. In 2015, she was awarded the Ib Award, given by the Danish Directors Association to honor the best producer in the Danish film industry. In 2020 she won The Cinema Eye Award with her outstanding producing of The Cave but was also nominated for outstanding producing for the film Aquarela. Sigrid teaches at the National Film School of Denmark and at DOK Incubator, an initiative supported by Media. She also holds master class lectures at film schools around the world and courses in documentary filmmaking. In 2018 Sigrid had the honor of being accepted as a member of The Academy. In spring 2021 Dyekjaer left her company Danish Documentary, to form a her new company Real Lava producing, co-producing and investing in International Documentary Films out of Denmark, backed by French company Newen Studios, The company just launched December 2021. The company´s first film The Territory by Alex Pritz premiered at Sundance 2022 and sold to National Geographic.
Heino Devker founded Ma.ja.de. Filmproduktions GmbH in 1991. Since 2003, he has been managing director of his own world distribution company for documentary films, Deckert Distribution.
Heino has produced over 130 films to date with filmmakers like Sergei Loznitsa, Victor Kossakovsky, Ai Weiwei, Thomas Heise and Feras Fayyad.
Iryna Kyporenko is a film programme manager of the Ukrainian Institute, Kyiv.
Born in Crimea, Ukraine. Studied journalism in Odesa and the USA. She studied documentary filmmaking at the Serhii Bykovsky film program in Kyiv. Took part in the numerous workshops for filmmakers ”The Guardian goes to Ukraine”, DocWorks: UA/UA. With a strong work background in media and production, Iryna joined the team in 2021 as a film programme manager of the Ukrainian Institute.
Before she worked as a journalist and documentary producer with Ukrainian and foreign companies. She has been a film manager at the documentary department on UA: PBC. Work as well with Tiger aspects (for Netflix), ARTE, The New York Times, TIME magazine, and others as a consultant and associate producer.
Ukrainian citizenship; minimum age of 18 years; fluency in English; readiness for public communication (it is necessary to present your project at the festival); impeccable business reputation; the activity and position of the applicant do not contradict the principles and values of UI.
send a filled form in English to firstname.lastname@example.org. Download the form here. Information to be included:
· the working title of the documentary tape;
· a short synopsis (up to 500 characters);
· treatment (detailed description of the project);
· production status, type of film (min), release date;
· expected total budget;
· confirmed financing, if any;
· a description of and filmography of the director, producer and production company;
· photo representing the project (poster, if available)
· active link to visual materials (trailer) within approximately 3 minutes. The files must be downloadable.
· motivation for participating in the Ukrainian delegation to the festival: what you are looking for, including special focus if relevant (for example, I am looking for a co-producer from a specific country, I am looking for a sales agent, etc.).
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Submission deadline: 28 August inclusive.