2 MAR 2023

#Ucancoproduce third edition congregated 100 attendees from Ukraine and Canada

Despite the ongoing war, Ukrainian producers continue to work and look for new content production opportunities, including with partners from Canada.

2 MAR 2023


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On February 20, in Berlin, about a hundred representatives from Ukraine and Canada joined the discussion about film production and distribution during the war at a round table organized by the #ucancoproduce initiative, aimed at putting into practice the Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty between Canada and Ukraine ratified in 2020.

Despite the ongoing war, Ukrainian producers continue to work and look for new content production opportunities, including with partners from Canada. Government institutions and independent companies producing audiovisual content in Canada are also determined to cooperate with and support Ukraine.

“Three years ago, we had great promise of things to come. There is a great symbiotic relationship between us. Despite what you’ve gone through, you’ve also shown us by example your resilience and the need to continue in your pursuits as a demonstration of your resilience and your forward advancements in all pillars of diplomacy. And we know how important media is in shaping ideas,” said Louise O'Brien Moran from Manitoba Film and Music.

During the discussion, Victoria Yarmoshchuk (FILM.UA Group, Ukrainian Motion Picture Association) presented the results of the work and achievements of the Ukrainian media business during the war, the services that Ukraine can provide at the moment, as well as the industry's plans for the future. “Before the war, the market was on the edge of breakthroughs locally and internationally. Last year Ukrainian filmmakers were very loudly heard at the main film, TV, and other platforms. But the only thing we delivered to the world last year was how good we were before the war. We asked for support and transferred our desire to cooperate, co-produce and be part of the international community. And we are very grateful for this opportunity. We were not asking for help, donations, or money – we were asking to be heard and to take place in the international market, which we deserve. Last year we successfully separated ourselves from Russia and loudly said who we are and what we can do. We are still alive and carefully optimistic. This year I am sure we will talk about the results, the projects, the success, and the development in the future. Film production in Ukraine happens these days, and it is not only documentaries. TV series, comedies, and fiction are filmed in Ukraine right now,” she commented.

Summarizing the production and distribution of Ukrainian content in 2022, Polina Tolmachova, Council for State Support of Cinematography, talked about the unique cases of distribution during the war and why it is crucial. A National Audience Support Strategy, which implies screening at least one premiere of a national film per month, was also presented during the event. “Local distribution in Ukraine gave us a lot of insights. Now people in Ukraine have learned how to live for today. There has been a certain shift from materialistic values to existential ones. There is a great environment for creativity. These conditions allow us to tell deeper stories than ever before. It is essential to understand the importance of unity and mutual aid. Since July, we regularly show Ukrainian films in cinemas once a month and have gathered an audience of 200,000 viewers,” she explained.

From the Canadian side, Julie Blondin (Telefilm Canada) presented new opportunities, ways, and features of cooperation with Canada in 2023. She emphasized that, despite the difficult situation in which the Ukrainian film industry finds itself due to the war, cooperation within the Agreement is possible. “In times like this, Canada is making a conscious effort to encourage collaborations between Canadian and Ukrainian producers in the audiovisual industry. On average, Canada certifies over 50 coproduction projects each year and has close to 60 partnering countries. With numerous international coproduction projects finding success on the global stage, we expect more new and bold stories to come on screens through the benefits of coproductions,” she said. In addition, producer Tommy Lupinacci, from VORTEX Media, shared his experience working on the joint project of Ukraine and Canada in development, "The Betrayers".

Also during the Conference, Ukrainian productions presented three projects looking for Canadian partners. Anastasiia Bukovska (Family production) and Tonia Noyabrova, whose film "Do you Love Me?" represented Ukraine at the Berlinale festival in the Panorama program, presented the comedy film Ukraine is the Capital of Everything, Olesya Lukyanenko (FILM.UA Group) – the full-length drama film "We Come From Here", work on which began together with the Canadian company Gambade Films thanks to the #ucancoproduce initiative, and Ivanna Khitsinska (Quatros Group) – a documentary project of the ARTE program Generation Ukraine – "Queens of Joy."