Odessa Film Festival to Kick Off With New Format

MOSCOW – The second edition of the Odessa International Film Festival is scheduled to kick off on July 15 in the Ukrainian Black Sea port city, with an ambition of becoming the country’s main film event.

About 100 films from more than 40 countries are to be screened at the festival, which is becoming a full-fledged event after last year’s test edition.

“Last year’s edition was sort of a teaser,” Denis Ivanov, the festival’s director, told The Hollywood Reporter. “We tested some of its components, and this year, we added a large professional program, which includes a script workshop, a film market and pitching sessions.”

According to Ivanov, just like last year, the festival’s official competition program is focused on art/mainstream. “But we prefer films that have some humor elements,” Ivanov said. “We are not screening social dramas.” He added that the festival’s programming primarily takes interests of regular audiences into account.

The official competition features 14 films, including the U.K./U.S. film Submarine by Richard Ayoade and Qualunquemente (Whatsoeverly) by Italian director Giulio Manfredonia. The jury, headed by Polish actor Jerzy Stuhr, is to announce the winners of the festival's main prize at the closing ceremony on July 23.

The festival’s other programs include The Festival’ Festival, which features the highest profile movies recently premiered at international festivals and the retrospectives of Monty Python and films that were shot in Odessa.

One of the festival’s main special events is to be the outdoor screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis at Potyomkin Stairs with the accompaniment of a symphony orchestra.

Although the festival is very young, the organizers don’t hide the ambition of turning it into Ukraine’s main film event. “Judging by the interest from the professional community and the number of people who registered for this year’s edition, we are already the main festival in the country,” Ivanov said.

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