Public funding has never been a huge part of Ukraine's small film industry. But, Ukrainian movie producers say that a recent dramatic increase in available funding has led to a burst of activity from filmmakers in the country.
This year, public funding for movie production has doubled, going from $16 million to $30 million. Many of the new films are being made in Ukrainian, the country's official language. A number of films with budgets ranging from $500,000 to $2 million were presented to an audience of film professionals at the Odessa International Film Festival, which is going on now. Moscow film producer Yevgeny Gindilis told Hollywood Reporter that the increase in films made in Ukraine has been terrific. He said, "I was first here three years ago, and there was nothing. What we are seeing now is really impressive."
Many of these films are even likely to make it to international markets, including the US. A few to look out for:
Unforgotten Shadows – a sex comedy turns horror comedy when the kids awaken ancient ghouls. Keep an eye out for this in the US. The distributor is negotiating a DVD and limited theatrical release.
Trumpter – think Glee in Ukraine, with an original score, all-teen cast.
The Guide – this thriller is one of the more ambitious projects being made. In 1930s Ukraine, an American orphan evades police while trying to solve the murder of his father. The producer and director is hoping to show the film at festivals all over the world.