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Odesa meets Karlovy Vary in the first part of the new Instagram Live series


- The Odesa International Film Festival has launched an Instagram Live series set to feature relaxed talks with some of the industry’s heavyweights

Odesa meets Karlovy Vary in the first part of the new Instagram Live series
Julia Sinkevych and Karel Och during the first Instagram Live chat

Planned as a series of live broadcasts to be streamed on the Odesa International Film Festival’s Instagram page, the new Instagram Live initiative promises an overview of the current situation, delivered in a less formal setting. “The idea is not to have another conference, but just to chat, to see who is doing what and what the main concerns are. I am sure that nobody has any definite answers right now, so it’s interesting to simply exchange some opinions,” general producer of the Odesa International Film Festival Julia Sinkevych told Cineuropa a few hours before the “test drive” first Live event, held on 7 April and featuring artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Karel Och. The next few guests, as well as a definitive schedule, will be announced soon.

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“I wanted to start with Karel, as our festivals are in a similar situation, date-wise,” she said, with the Ukrainian event still scheduled to take place from 10-18 July at the time of writing. “I was curious about what they are doing and what the plan is, if there is one. My idea is to talk to people in different professions: festival organisers, film directors and producers. The only obstacle might be the language, as our audience is mostly Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking, but we will still do it in English.” As Cineuropa found out, the talks will also address new trends and forecasts voiced during the pandemic. “There were already many articles trying to figure out how it will affect the whole industry. Many are saying it won’t be the same any more, ever, but to what extent? It’s certainly a topic that concerns all of us.”

During the talk, which was cut short slightly owing to a technical glitch, Sinkevych and Och exchanged their experiences and fears, and talked about the “online issue” and changes in sponsorship deals. Och also answered some questions from the audience, which were asked during the broadcast or sent in beforehand via the festival’s social-media pages – even the ones about his own life. “Yes, I studied Law. My sister is a doctor, so it seemed like a good combination, and since I am so slow, it took me four years to realise it was not my thing,” he joked, while also talking about the festival’s current status. “We have been working from home for more than three weeks, and we will know more towards the end of April. I think the ambiguity of the moment is the worst thing.”

Addressing the chances of the now-postponed Cannes overlapping with Karlovy Vary, he said: “It’s not confirmed yet, and there is a possibility that none of this will happen, as we all need a blessing from the government. We screen a lot of films from Cannes, so we would have fewer, and some journalists and industry guests would not be able to come.” He also noted the festival’s traditional summer slot as an important part of its appeal. “Since 1946, it has been happening in a spa town over the holidays, with lots of students coming. There is nothing we would love more than to go on, but once the decision is made, we will have to adjust,” he added. “I think that everything will be localised. Maybe there will be someone with a thermometer in front of every cinema? Why not, if it helps restore the system a bit.”

Still, the conversation ended on a positive note, with Sinkevych and Och sharing, as Julie Andrews would put it, a few of their favourite things. “For me, it’s the screening on the Potemkin Steps, with thousands of people coming to feel this atmosphere,” said Sinkevych, with Och chiming in: “We like to sneak into the theatre to see the reaction of the audience, as this ‘wave’ gives you so much energy. Fortunately and unfortunately, we depend on people gathering, discussing and hugging each other – as we were at Berlin, which was only a month ago and already feels like two years ago,” he noted. “It’s sad to follow the news, but there will be time to reflect on this and whatever lessons we have learned. [One day] it will all be turned into a film, and people who have no idea what it looked like will be leaving the cinema, saying: ‘Who wrote that script?!’”

You can watch the entire chat here, and more updates about the series will follow here.

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