International film industry rallies in support of Ukraine – The Hollywood Reporter
The war in Ukraine seems a world away from the red carpet glamor and high-profile deals of the 75th Cannes Film Festival. But for many walking the Croisette this year, the brutality and destruction inflicted on the country since Russia’s February 24 invasion remains front and center, with the long-term consequences of the conflict still unknown.
“Our last days of filming Butterfly vision were in the Donbass region in April 2021, the first time that a large number of Russian troops started to gather on the border,” says Ukrainian director Maksim Nakonechnyi about his title Un Certain Regard, the only feature film Ukrainian in official selection at Cannes this year. (The documentary A natural history of destruction — getting a special Cannes screening from acclaimed Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa — is a German-Dutch co-production.) “Our DCP [digital cinema print] delivered just days before they started bombing kyiv. When the attacks started, and we were rushing on the subway, I called our post-production coordinator and he said, “Don’t worry, whatever happens, we have a complete copy of the film. .”
The struggle to complete the documentary on the war in Ukraine Mariupolis 2 – also a special screening at Cannes – was even more poignant. Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius returned to Ukraine’s beleaguered Donbass region for a follow-up to his 2016 film. But in early April he was captured and murdered by the Russian army in Mariupol. Kvedaravičius’ fiancée, Hanna Bilobrova, who co-directed the film and was with him at the time of his death, was able to get the footage out of the country and edit it in time for its Cannes premiere.
Doing whatever it takes has become a credo among Ukrainian filmmakers, many of whom have chosen to stay in their home countries to fight on the front lines or to document the war and its aftermath.
Support for Ukraine has come from many sectors of the international film industry, whether it’s celebrities like Sean Penn or Angelina Jolie visiting the war zone to bring the conflict to the world’s attention, or companies reaching out to Ukrainian producers and directors to help them where they can.
“We act as an independent film foundation, together with the Polish Film Academy and many Polish and European organizations, to support Ukrainian filmmakers, especially those documenting the war in Ukraine,” says Violetta Kaminska from the company. Polish Apple Film Productions, one of many European organizations. companies providing practical assistance to their colleagues on the other side of the border.
Nu Boyana, a film and television backlot located in Sofia, Bulgaria and owned by The Expendables producer Millennium Media, actively recruits Ukrainian refugees and hosts a weekly job fair to find jobs in the region for those seeking to escape the war. Currently, Nu Boyana has more than a dozen Ukrainian professionals – including makeup artists and assistant directors – working on productions like the action movie Renny Harlin Mason.
“We also have Ukrainians doing basic jobs. My goal, if they want to stay and work in the studio, is to train them. Most of the people who came were women with children, and the main thing for them was, how can we find them daycare for the children? says Yariv Lerner, CEO of Nu Boyana. “The situation transcends the economy. Companies come and go, and they will do what they have to do. Right now it’s about helping our human family.