Ukrainian documentary projects in Cannes: UKRAINIAN SHOWCASE @ Cannes Docs 2020

About the project

The Ukrainian Institute together with Docudays UA organized the first UKRAINIAN SHOWCASE @ Cannes Docs, an online presentation platform for Ukrainian documentary projects, which took place at the Marché du Film as a part of the Cannes Docs section. The four upcoming documentaries were presented. Their releases are expected in 2020 and 2021.


Among 21 competitive projects, the organisers have selected the following:

Directed by Eva Dzhyshiashvili and produced by Oksana Ivanyuk.

Ukraine, 70-80 minutes
Release date: 2021

This story is about Dmytro and Hanusia, a couple who have saved more than they have lost under the pressure of their burdensome being. The measure of their values is their love, which maintains the eternal flow of life.


Directed by Alina Gorlova and produced by Maksym Nakonechnyi

Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Qatar, 102′ minutes
Release date: 2020

The film follows 20-year-old Andriy Suleyman as he tries to secure a sustainable future while navigating the human toll of armed conflict. From the Syrian civil war to strife in Ukraine, Andriy’s existence is framed by the seemingly eternal flow of life and death.

Directed by Marta Smerechynska and produced by Natalia Libet, Vitaliy Sheremetiev.

Ukraine, 90 minutes.
Release date: 2021
Production – “Digital Religion” LLC (Ukraine)

When her sister, at 13, decided to become a nun, the film director, outraged, tried to stop her. Six years later, she started filming in her sister’s new home – in the nunnery.
Directed by Oleksiy Radynski and produced by Lyuba Knorozok.

Ukraine, Czech Republic, 80 minutes.
Release date: 2021

Florian Yuriev is an architect, artist, violin maker, musician, theorist and poet. Now aged 90, he has to master one more occupation: civic activism. One day, he learns that his main architectural work – Kyiv’s UFO building – is under threat of being turned into a shopping mall. Florian decides to strike back.

About organization of the UKRAINIAN SHOWCASE @ Cannes Docs

Darya Bassel, Head of the DOCU/PRO Industry Platform

We met Pierre-Alexis Chevit, the curator of Cannes Docs, a few years ago at the DOKLeipzig market. Back then, he was, among other things, the curator of the FIPADOC festival market and of the documentary section at Marché du Film. I remember well how, when Marché du Film was mentioned, we were captivated by the idea to bring a Ukrainian delegation. Pierre-Alexis looked at us with distrust and recommended checking the prices in Cannes, meaning that it is very expensive. Next year, I found myself in Cannes for the first time; I had a chance to watch showcases at Cannes Docs, and I noticed that although Ukraine was always represented in Cannes, documentary projects in particular have never been presented separately. Then I reminded Pierre-Alexis once again about our wish to bring Ukrainian docs. Soon, we saw each other in Amsterdam once again during IDFA, where we brought a Ukrainian delegation together with the State Film Agency and the Ukrainian Institute. That is where we made the final arrangement to have a Ukrainian showcase. It was extremely important that the Ukrainian Institute immediately supported the project and did not change its intentions even after its budget was sequestered.

I hope that this year’s showcase is the first but not the last, and that every year, we will be able to present at least 4 incredible documentary projects which will then be premiered at the best festivals of the world. I must note that there are still professionals at various market events who can confuse Ukraine with Romania or Greece. But the more events like this one we do, the more recognizable our cinema, our filmmakers, our country in general will be.

Olha Birzul, Head of the Cinema Division of the Ukrainian Institute

In the time of global challenges, even the biggest Cannes film market Marché du Film has to adapt to the new circumstances. That is why the Ukrainian Institute created the conditions for Ukrainian documentary filmmakers and producers to be present online at the No. 1 film market. Today, this virtual representation became an alternative to the traditional Ukrainian pavilion in Cannes, and we believe that this international networking will lay the foundation for long-term international partnerships.

Even though Cannes Docs took place online in 2020, there was an opportunity for Ukrainian projects to get direct access to the large cinema industry community. Every year, Cannes Docs special professional programme at Marché du Film brings together authors, producers, and all those involved in the production of full-length creative documentaries aimed at cinema distribution.

Ukrainian producers and directors presented their projects to representatives of the most influential international festivals and sales agencies. In addition to the presentation, participating projects got individual consultations from the leading international experts.

In 2020, the Ukrainian Institute also supported the presentation of Ukrainian producers in the Producers Network programme at the Cannes film market.