Ukraine's Odessa International Film Festival Unveils Lineup

Odessa Film Festival poster

The fifth edition of the festival is taking place in July in a country still on the brink of civil war.

The Odessa International Film Festival announced Wednesday its competition lineup as it gears up for its fifth -- and most challenging -- edition to date.

The festival, which includes the international premiere of U.S. director Bryan Reisberg's psychological drama Big Significant Things in its competition lineup, takes place next month in Ukraine, a country still teetering on the brink of civil war.

Although the fighting between pro-Russian separatists in the east and Ukrainian army units loyal to newly elected President Petro Poroshenko is far from Odessa, it is only a month since 40 pro-Russian activists were burned to death in a trade union building in the city during clashes between opposing factions.

PHOTOS: THR's Cannes Portfolio

Paying tribute to the support the festival has received from more than 250 other film festivals worldwide, fest president Viktoriya Tigipko said: "This year has been very difficult and at the same time momentous both for the country and every one of us. Our team is doing our very best for this festival to happen and be held on a top level."

Other films in the 12-strong international competition line up include German thriller Stereo (dir. Maximilian Erlenwein), starring Jurgen Vogel (Rabbit Without Ears) and Moritz Bleibtreu (Run Lola Run); Chinese director Yinan Diao's Berlinale Golden Bear–winning Asian film noir, Black Coal, Thin Ice; Israeli director Talya Lavie's surrealist tragicomedy, Zero Motivation, that won the Grand Prix and Nora Ephron Prize at New York's Tribeca Festival; and critically acclaimed tragicomedy by Georgian director Levan Koguashvili, Blind Dates.

British director Peter Webber (Girl With a Pearl Earring) heads the jury for the international competition and other guests include British director Stephen Frears, who will present a retrospective of his work, including Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen and his latest film, Philomena; Irish actor Aidan Turner (The Tudors; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug); and acclaimed British film producer Lord David Puttnam who will lecture at the festival's summer school.

The fifth Odessa International Film Festival runs July 11-19.