Ukraine has first Cannes pavillion

Organized by the Ukrainian Cinema Foundation

CANNES -- For the first time, Ukraine has its own pavilion at the festival. Situated in the Village International, the pavilion provides the latest information on Ukrainian cinema, promos for new films and screenings.

Organized by the Ukrainian Cinema Foundation, the screenings kicked off Thursday with the aptly named "Casting" from director Oleksandr Shapiro. The film combines 36 actors' casting sessions to create a vignette-style feature about Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

Aleksandr Kiriyenko's "Illusion of Fear" follows May 19 with the tale of a local businessman who gets caught up in what appears to be a corrupt legal system and turns out to be a fantastical illusion.

Set on the Greek island of Lesbos, "Sappho," from Robert Crombie, screens Wednesday21 and tells the tale of a modern-day love triangle between American newlyweds and a young woman.

Causing controversy on home soil, "Sappho" trebled the all-time cinema boxoffice record for a locally produced movie in Ukraine in March, despite a 20,000-strong petition from religious groups calling for the movie to be banned.

Other screenings include a film about the Ukrainian war leader Bohdan-Zinoviy Khmelnitskiy, who stood up against the rule of feudal Poland (1649-57); and "Vladyka Andrey" from director Oles Yanchuk, about the life and work of Andrei Sheptycky (1865-1944), a historic figure and church leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Ukraine also exhibited for the first time at the European Film Market in Berlin in February.
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