In full evolution, the Ukrainian series industry faces war

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So close so far. In just over three hours of flight, you can get to kyiv from Paris. However, the Ukrainian culture remains unknown to many French people. This is the case of the series produced in this Eastern European country, still far from invading the screens. At best, the French public will have heard of village servantthe eerily prescient series in which now-warlord Volodymyr Zelensky plays a simple professor who becomes president.

Towards deeper stories, after years of sitcoms

However, the series also produced by Zelensky and now a worldwide success is far from representative of the current Ukrainian series, according to Julia Sinkevych. The Ukrainian producer who heads the Ukrainian Film Academy and former General Delegate of theOdessa International Film Festival is this year president of the jury of the international contest of Mania Festival Series of lilac :

[Serviteur du Peuple] it is the typical example of TV series that have been produced a lot in Ukraine during the last ten years. But now, for a few years, the budgets of the series have increased. There are more possibilities to produce different and original content…

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In fact, the largest study in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Film.UAcurrently pre-produced Bordera creation far removed from the sitcom, as shown by its screenwriter, Judit Anna Banhazi. “It is the story of a single father, who after committing suicide, finds himself in a supernatural world where a psychologist offers him to participate in an experimental therapy. He will be able to enter the subconscious of his ancestors, going back to the beginning. of the 20th century, and relive with them their traumas [les guerres d’Europe centrale et de l’Est]in order to find the source of their own traumas”she develops.

Kateryna Vyshnevska has a tired face and bright eyes. The producer and director of international development for Film.UAcame out of besieged kyiv to present this fantastic supernatural series in Lille. For her, the topic resonates very much with the current situation. “What interested me in The Border is that it’s about how we resolve, or how we continue to carry trauma across time and space, across generations and generations.she explains. Art, movies, series, are also ways of dealing with trauma, not only for the people who create, but also for the people who watch.“.

An industry emancipating itself from Russian influence to achieve more creative freedom

Kateryna Vyshnevska adds that Border is also a way of Film.UAa company that employs 500 people, to show that the series industry exists in Eastern Europe and that it is strong, despite prejudice that stick to your skin:

We really are on our way to becoming a real global player, but we are still considered, somewhere, almost below the level of the stories we have to tell, which is absolutely false! It took a lot of effort, a lot of time and patience to destroy those borders that, somewhere, still exist…

Nebojsa Taraba is the producer of the Ukrainian-Croatian series The silence, It will soon be broadcast on HBO and Arte. It is an adaptation of the best-seller by journalist Drago Hedla, selective silence, recounting his discovery of a prostitution ring. The main role is played by one of the most famous Ukrainian actresses, Ksenia Mishina.

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Nebojsa Taraba attests to this, If the Ukrainian series industry is becoming more consistent and qualitative, it is also due to the progressive break with Russian influences and collaborations, since the invasion of Crimea in 2014 :

Ukraine has always been considered a country at the service of Russian productions. I would even go so far as to say that there was a kind of colonial relationship at that level. This prevented Ukraine from developing its creative side. On the production side, on the other hand, the Ukrainians are technically perfect. Only in the last seven years have they started to work a lot on the creative side of their industry, investing in writers, directors…

According to a study of the Ukrainian state, 69% of the series broadcast on national television were Russian in 2014, before the invasion of Crimea. In 2019, Russian series only accounted for 5% of broadcasts. Still, this process takes time. One does not part with a snap of a finger from such a historical partner. Kateryna Vyshnevska confirms it. _”_It was already difficult to make the decision to stop co-producing series with Russia, when you have 500 people to pay and more than 50% of your income comes from this market.he laments. But now it’s obvious that we won’t be able to work together anymore, at least not when it comes to my generation…”

A momentum slowed down by the war, but far from having disappeared

If this rapidly evolving industry has been destabilized by war, Nebojsa Taraba assures us, industry professionals have not had their last word:

Despite everything, we continue to work together. Season 2 filming was scheduled for October this year, and somehow we will manage to do this filming in Ukraine. I am sure of this. But for now, the most important thing is that everyone is safe and sound. I will be a happy man if all my Ukrainian team and partners get out of there alive.

Most of the members of the production team of The silence In fact, they are still in Ukraine, although some have managed to move to the West, a little calmer. In the country, the audiovisual sector tries to stay as active as possible. According to Julia Sinkevych, several cinemas are still open in the West and still show a small number of films.

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