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Projects of «Work in progress» Competition of the 15th Odesa International Film Festival

This year, 14 projects are taking part in «Work in progress», a competition of films that are in the development stage. 11 documentaries and 3 feature films are focused on the topics of war and occupation, forced migrants, ecology of Ukraine during Russia's armed aggression, etc. More details about each of the projects are available below.

  • «Anna», directed by Volodymyr Filippov

This is a documentary film about the life of Anna Werner, a Norwegian language teacher who has devoted more than three decades to teaching Norwegian to immigrants and refugees, adapting them to Norwegian society. An important part of the film is the stories of refugees, their rescue, escape from wars and political persecution. Personal stories and archival materials enrich the film, revealing the complexities and societal challenges these newcomers face in a foreign land, from xenophobia to cultural conflicts. The movie is a testament to the power of enlightenment and compassion.

Production countries: Norway, Ukraine, Palestine.

Budget: UAH 2.8 million.

Release expected date: June 2025.

  • «Attention: Children», directed by Svitlana Rudiuk

This is a documentary film that tells the stories of children who survived the Russian occupation and violence, lost their relatives and homes, were injured, kidnapped and taken to a territory not controlled by Ukraine. Film also represents the stories of child volunteers and children who have performed heroic deeds.

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 1.7 million.

Release expected date: December 2024.


  • «Budapest. Bomb for the Independence», directed by Roman Synchuk

Documentary project by The Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine about The Budapest Memorandum, an international agreement in which Ukraine made all concessions to its partners and got nothing as a result. The film should answer several questions:

- Is Budapest a complete defeat for Ukraine or a victory after all, 30 years of development, strengthening and self-awareness?

- Is Budapest the naivety, a forced step or betrayal on the part of Ukrainian leadership?

- Is Budapest a cynicism or recklessness of the leaders of the First World?

The film will offer a complete narrative of the course of historical events, testimonies and assessments of their direct participants, explanations of experts and an invaluable video chronicle. Filming will take place at locations in Ukraine, the United States, and Hungary.

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 3.6 million.

Release expected date: August 2024.

  • «Divia», directed Dmytro Hreshko

A documentary film about the impact of war on ecology of Ukraine during the start of military aggression in 2014 and the full-scale invasion of Russia in 2022. The title of the film «Divia» comes from the Slavic goddess of nature, who represents the mother of all living things. The main characters of the film are the nature of Ukraine, the war and the Russian troops, which bring destruction and death.

Production countries: Poland, Ukraine, Netherlands.

Budget: UAH 1.4 million.

Release expected date: August 2024.

  • «Good Thing Mom Doesn't Know», directed by Sasha Lytvynenko

The feature film consists of four stories. Each part is the story of one of the family members. The first three novellas tell the story of two brothers and a sister, and the final fourth collects in a logical conclusion everything that happened in the previous parts. Each novel is a separate genre: crime; drama with elements of crime and humor; comedy.

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 8.7 million.

Release expected date: November 2024.

  • «Language Barrier», directed by Zhora Papoyan

Documentary film by a 22-year-old director from Mariupol. The movie tries to balance between two intersecting stories: about local residents of the frontline areas and about foreign volunteers. Two short stories united by lack of communication, a common theme of film.

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 36 000.

Release expected date: summer-autumn 2024.

  • «Say Ukraine», directed by Serhii Lysenko

A feature film based on the director's personal diaries and observations. This is a film about 3 years in the life of a documentary cameraman named Dan: from the events on Maidan to the war in Donbas. A series of episodes from the recent history of Ukraine passes through Dan's camera: the shooting of protesters, the capture of Sloviansk, Debaltsevo, Illovaysk, Mariupol...

Production countries: Ukraine, Lithuania.

Budget: UAH 17.5 million.

Release expected date: 2025.

  • «Talent», directed by Anastasia Yermolenko

We often do not notice the heroes who live next to us in peacetime. However, war highlights the best human qualities: courage, self-sacrifice, humor even in the darkest times. In 2017, the calculation of an anti-tank grenade launcher is fighting an unequal battle with Russian tanks. The attack was repulsed, but grenade launcher Andrii Hlushko («Did») was wounded for the fifth time because of shelling. The old soldier was dismissed from the ranks. In the rear, Did is going through a spiritual crisis. Neither psychologists nor the love of his young daughter can save him from depression and suicide attempts. This documentary is a journey into the depths of the human soul during the time of trial.

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 950 000.

Release expected date: 2025.

  • «The Last Prometheus of Donbas», directed by Anton Shtuka (Shynkarenko)

The documentary film is a 75-minute story about the work of indomitable energy workers working at the last operational thermal power plant in the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Donetsk region. After the capture of Maryinka, the next target of the enemy is the small town of energy workers Kurakhove. The city was founded by workers who built and then worked at the Kurakhivska Thermal Power Plant, which began its journey in 1941, survived the Second World War and is now under threat of destruction for the second time in its history. The station is an enemy target.

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 2.9 million.

Release expected date: December 2024.

  • «The Mousetrap», directed by Serhii Kastornykh

A full-length feature film by Serhii Kastornykh, the screenwriter of the films «Myrnyi-21» and «How Is Katia?», serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to the plot, the main character Anton, after joining the ranks of the Armed Forces and undergoing training, finds himself in a combat zone for the first time in his life. Already during the approach to the position, his unit comes under massive enemy fire. Following the commander's order, Anton heads to the dugout, the entrance blocked by a direct shell hit. Anton regains consciousness with a concussion, a broken arm and a leg injury. Alone. In an underground room of only a few square meters, from which there is no exit. Will he survive to keep his word to his daughter?

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 5 million.

Release expected date: February 2025.

  • «The Running Land», directed by Olena Siyatovska

A documentary consisting of three stories of Ukrainian teenagers who faced the horror of war and instead of their lost childhood found a ghostly refuge in art. All the stories united around the image of a home built from memories, reborn from ruins and turned into a fortress. The first story is about four boys that are forced to move from eastern Ukraine to Lithuania, the picturesque village of Nida, near the Baltic Sea. The second is about 14-year-old Anna from Saltivka, the most affected district of Kharkiv. The girl survived after a Russian rocket hit their house, because the enemy strike broke it in half, and the apartment of Anna's family is located in the side part. The third story of the film is about a family with 7 children who live near the destroyed airport in Chornobayivka, Kherson region.

Production countries: Ukraine, Lithuania.

Budget: UAH 6.3 million.

Release expected date: February 2025.

  • «Tilia», directed by Mykola Nosok

«Tilia» (the Linden Tree) is an intimate journey into the world of Ukrainian family with a baby whose life began during the global pandemic, and whose first birthday fell on the war. A letter from a father to his daughter Maria, which contains a series of family stories that introduce the child to her family and explain why the war started. The director's camera captures the story of loss and birth, when the family, being abroad, is faced with the most difficult choice — to return to Ukraine or not, to ensure the complete safety of their daughter or to have the opportunity to be at the center of the country's struggle for long-awaited freedom. In the end, what story will parents tell their daughter? A story of fight or flight for safety? 

Production country: Ukraine.

Budget: UAH 2.4 million.

Release expected date: May 2025.


  • «We Are Ukraine», directed by Craig Freimond

This is a documentary film about ordinary people in extraordinary times. People who decided to continue to work, get married, have children — continue to live and laugh, no matter what. This is not a war story. This is not a story about death and destruction. This is a story about life, a story that will make you laugh, cry and realize that, after all, people in Ukraine are the same as people in any contemporary free nation.

Production countries: Ukraine, South Africa

Budget: UAH 2.4 million.

  • «Women Occupied», directed by Tetiana Hanzha and Zoya Folk

This documentary film is a painful journey through the lives of Lyudmila and Daria, Andrea and Sabina, women from Ukraine, Germany and Bosnia who manage to overcome the trauma of sexual violence during the war. The film explores their personal journey from trauma to healing, emphasizing strength, dignity and the quest for justice.

Production country: Ukraine, Germany.

Budget: UAH 12.3 million.

Release expected date: 2025.

Prizes of the «Work in progress» competition of the Odesa International Film Festival:

- prize from the UpHub Official Partner — UAH 50 000;

- prize from information partner Kyivstar TV – UAH 50 000;

- prize from Starlight Creative – a certificate for marketing services for project preparation for festivals (poster, trailer, branding).

The 15th Odesa International Film Festival will take place from July 12 to 20, 2024, in Kyiv.

The 15th Odesa International Film Festival is

supported by the Ukrainian State Film Agency and the Creative Europe Program.

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