Open Night Film Festival

Open Night Film Festival
Photo: opennight.org.ua
The Open Night Film Festival is an annual festival of Ukrainian-language cinema held every June in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. It was founded in 1997 by Ukrainian film director and screenwriter Mykhailo Illienko, whose 2011 film Firecrosser was selected as the Ukrainian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards.

Illienko created the Open Night Film Festival to introduce wide audiences to the best of Ukrainian cinema. The country’s film industry went through hard times after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the new festival was meant to encourage emerging filmmakers to create Ukrainian-language films. Over the years, Open Night has transformed into an experimental platform where established filmmakers can try out new ideas and emerging directors can find an audience.

The Open Night Film Festival hosts an annual competition for Ukrainian-language films, two-language films that reflect the current language situation in Ukraine, and films by Ukrainian filmmakers where characters speaking other languages are voiced in Ukrainian. The winners are selected by a jury consisting of Ukrainian and foreign filmmakers, artists, composers, authors, etc. Past jury members have included poet Lina Kostenko, musician Oleg Skrypka, authors Yurii Andrukhovych and Oksana Zabuzhko, film critic and historian Grzegorz Pieńkowski, Ukrainian-American composer Virko Baley, and others.

Open Night isn’t counted by editions but by “takes”. For example, the inaugural festival was named “Open Night. Take One”. From 1997 until 2013, the festival was held Andriyivskyy Descent, a historic descent connecting Kyiv’s Upper Town with the Podil neighborhood. In 2014, Open Night moved to the ArtPRICHAL Gallery, a creative space that combines the spirit of history and urban space. Open-air film screenings take place near the gallery, on the bank of the Dnieper River.

That same year, one of the country’s largest media conglomerates 1+1 Media Group became a partner and co-organizer of the festival, which allowed to expand the festival program by including television. The competition was expanded too and now includes television categories such as Best TV Ad and Best Special Coverage.

Alongside the main event that takes place in Kyiv, the Open Night Film Festival hosts film screenings in other Ukrainian cities. Film lovers can also watch online broadcasts of the festival in more than 30 cities of Ukraine, as well as in Europe and Canada.

Open Night Film Festival

Photo: freshproduction.com



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