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Ukraine’s Odessa International Film Festival is turning to crowdfunding in an attempt to ensure its fifth edition, scheduled for July, goes ahead.
The festival, which lost all public funding after an interim government following the country’s revolution introduced stringent austerity measures, hopes to raise $25,000 through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
An international campaign, targeted at festival heads and film industry professionals worldwide, is due to go live Wednesday.
The move comes a month after the heads of more than 120 international film festivals called for producers and directors to offer the festival discounts to help ease its financial difficulties.
Festival chiefs, including those from Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Warsaw, appealed for international attention to what they said was likely to be “the most difficult year” ever in the career of Ukrainian industry colleagues.
The festival, which has produced a promotional video to help raise awareness of its campaign, said that “political instability and economic crisis” was threatening the future of the event, which attracts international guests that last year included British director Michael Winterbottom and veteran producer Roger Corman.
The festival said that its team “believes that now as never before Odessa IFF’s mission is to support Ukrainian filmmakers and to bring the attention of the international filmmaking community to the changes and threats Ukraine is going through.”
It was the first time the festival had ever asked for public support, organizers added.
The Indiegogo campaign will run for 50 days and aims to raise $25,000. The money will be used to cover the costs of technical equipment, accommodation, venues and other organizational expenses.
The festival, which last year attracted 115,000 admissions, was launched in the ancient Black Sea port city of Odessa in 2010 with a mission to bring “art mainstream” cinema to Ukrainian audiences.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine was underscored Tuesday when U.S. vice president Joe Biden visited the country’s capital Kiev, where he urged Russia to support moves to defuse tensions.
Last week diplomats from Russia, the U.S and European Union, meeting in Geneva, agreed on a way forward to pull Ukraine back from the brink of civil war, but no practical measures are yet evident on the ground.
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