Odessa IFF to Take Place Despite Recent Armed Clashes

 

MOSCOW -- Ukraine's Odessa International Film Festival is to take place despite recent armed clashes in the Black Sea city, according to organizers, who promise to ensure safety of participants and audiences.

"We are very concerned about what happened in Odessa on May 2," Julia Sinkevych, the festival's executive producer, told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to an armed conflict between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian crowds, which claimed the lives of 46 people.

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"We are shocked by the number of victims," she continued. "At the same time, Odessa is a special city. Local residents love it, are proud of it, and the festival has become 'their own' event, so we're doing everything possible to continue preparations and run the festival as planned." According to Sinkevych, organizers are considering specific measures to ensure the safety of guests and audiences at the festival's fifth edition, which is scheduled to run July 11-19.

Meanwhile, the festival has already faced financial problems as the Ukrainian government, strapped for cash amid the political turmoil of the last few months, pulled out of funding the event.

"The financial situation is still problematic," Sinkevych said. "We are constantly in negotiations with our partners, trying to find mutually beneficial conditions and minimize costs. It is difficult to come up with the budget while the situation with state funding remains unchanged."

In late April, the festival's organizers launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, aiming to collect $25,000 in addition to private sponsors' contributions. So far, $3,365 has been collected, Sinkevych said, adding that the outcome of the crowdfunding campaign will be clear on its final day, June 12.

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