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CANNES 2022 Marché du Film

Six Ukrainian producers go “under the Spotlight” at Cannes

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- Darya Bassel, Olga Beskhmelnitsyna, Denys Ivanov, Nataliia Libet, Sashko Chubko and Volodymyr Yatsenko will all be in attendance at the Marché du Film

Six Ukrainian producers go “under the Spotlight” at Cannes
l-r, top row first: Ukrainian producers Darya Bassel, Olga Beskhmelnitsyna, Denys Ivanov, Nataliia Libet, Sashko Chubko and Volodymyr Yatsenko

During proceedings at this year’s Cannes Marché du Film (17-25 May), 21 May will be dedicated to Ukraine. For the second time, the Ukrainian Institute will introduce six Ukrainian producers during a special presentation called “Ukrainian Producers under the Spotlight”. In particular, the event will be attended by Darya Bassel (Moon Man), Olga Beskhmelnitsyna (ESSE Production House), Denys Ivanov (Arthouse Traffic), Nataliia Libet (Digital Religion), Sashko Chubko (Pronto Film) and Volodymyr Yatsenko (ForeFilms).

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In 2011, Darya Bassel joined the team of the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (Kyiv), where she works to this day as a programmer and industry platform coordinator. In parallel with her work at the festival, she also works in film production through the outfit Moon Man. My Father Is My Mother's Brother [+see also:
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, directed by Vadym Ilkov (winner of the Régionyon Jury Prize for the most innovative feature film in the international competition at Visions du Réel 2018), was the first movie on which she worked as associate producer and festival agent. The company Moon Man focuses on creative documentary and fiction films with a strong, auteur-driven directorial approach. In 2022, Moon Man’s first production, the documentary Outside [+see also:
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by Olha Zhurba, had its world premiere at CPH:DOX. Darya was a co-producer on the award-winning documentary A House Made of Splinters [+see also:
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by Simon Lereng Wilmont. She has served on juries at numerous festivals, including IDFA, Visions du Réel, Krakow and One World. She was also invited by Ukraine's Tabor Production to produce, together with Yelizaveta Smith, the debut feature by Maksym Nakonechnyi, Butterfly Vision [+see also:
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, which will premiere at Cannes this year, in Un Certain Regard.

In addition to her role at ESSE Production House, Olga Beskhmelnitsyna is an executive producer at MaGiKa Film, where she is head of the New Project Development department. She has worked at the National Cinematheque of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Motion Picture Association. Beskhmelnitsyna has produced several shorts and worked as an executive producer on all of the films staged by MaGiKa Film for the last four years. She is known as the producer of Stop-Zemlia [+see also:
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by Katerina Gornostai and the documentary Panorama by Yuriy Shilov. Beskhmelnitsyna commented: “This year at Cannes, I will take part in several programmes: Producers Network and Cannes Docs Showcase Ukraine. I will present projects that are currently being developed and for which I am looking for partners: the documentary Listening to the World, directed by Elizabeth Smith, the feature Blindsight, directed by Ruslan Batytsky, and several other projects that I can't talk about right now.”

Denys Ivanov is a Ukrainian producer, film distributor, cultural manager and TV presenter, as well as being the founder of the Odesa International Film Festival and the Children Kinofest festival for children and teenagers, and the head of Arthouse Traffic. He is also a member of the European Film Academy and the National Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine. He is known as the producer of The Tribe [+see also:
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by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, Black Level [+see also:
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by Valentin Vasyanovich and Donbass [+see also:
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by Sergei Loznitsa. “I will be presenting Oleh Sentsov's film Kai at the Cannes Market,” Ivanov said. “This is a project that Oleh has been working on for a long time; it was the winner of several pitching sessions, but then he ended up in a Russian prison. And after his release, we made Rhino [+see also:
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and decided to work together on Kai. And right now, this project is at the financing stage; it is already pretty well developed, and we have received the support of the festival in Gothenburg. We were able to finalise the script, and we have a complete package ready so that we can look for international partners. Also, together with Kristi Films, I will present the project Demons by Natalka Vorozhbit. This project is almost at the end of its filming period – there are four days of filming left.”

Natalia Libet has gained experience in co-production, investment and finance while working for international companies primarily of US and German origin. Now, she works as a film producer mostly with ESSE Production House and Digital Religion. From 2019-2021, she brought the First Cut Lab to Ukraine; her first local initiative was with EAVE on Demand in 2017. She has also been part of Bratislava's Febiofest and the goEast Film Festival as a jury member. Libet is known as the co-producer of Parthenon [+see also:
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by Mantas Kvedaravicius and Stop-Zemlia by Katerina Gornostai. At present, Libet has the documentary Ashes Settling in Layers on the Surface by Zoya Laktionova, Dawn Chorus by Mykola Zaseev, the fiction title Consider Vera and the series Rivals by Marina Stepanska in development. She will showcase these projects at the Cannes Producers Network.

Vladimir Yatsenko is the co-owner of, and general producer at, the production companies Limelite and ForeFilms. Over the course of 11 years, Limelite has produced more than 600 video adverts, also staging both national films and international co-productions. Yatsenko is the head of the Film Industry Association of Ukraine and the head of the Social Council at the Ukrainian State Film Agency. He is known as the producer of Homeward [+see also:
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by Nariman Aliev.

Last but not least, Sashko Chubko is a producer at Pronto Film, known for his work on Olga [+see also:
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by Elie Grappe as well as many short films. He said: “Filip Sotnychenko's debut feature, La Palisiada, which I am producing together with Halyna Kryvorchuk (Viatel) and Valeria Sochyvets (SUK), has been selected for two work-in-progress events at the Cannes Film Market. One is organised by the Tallinn Film Festival, called Black Nights Goes to Cannes. Another is organised by the Italian film market When East Meets West, together with Eave and First Cut Lab, called Ukrainian Films Now. Also, thanks to the Ukrainian Institute, I will be able to participate in the Producers Network programme, where I plan to find international partners for new projects: a historical drama about the Holodomor, Jacob by Victoria Trofimenko, and the children's anti-war film Up the Road. Also, with Pronto Film, we have completed our most important project in the history of the company - Oles Sanin's Dovbush. I hope to secure a world premiere at Cannes and international distribution that will match the scale and strength of the film. But the main thing for every Ukrainian at Cannes this year will not be the film business or networking; this year, we are going as a cohesive team, which aims to convey Ukrainian narratives and oppose Russian ones through media, press conferences and personal meetings in a country where pro-Russian sentiment is historically strong. Even Macron still uses the famous cliché about ‘fraternal peoples’. So there will be a lot of work on the fronts of cultural diplomacy and information warfare.”

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