The history of the Kyiv International Film Festival starts in 1970. The first festival was a two-day viewing of short films made by students of the Kyiv State Theatrical Art Institute. Although a local initiative, since the very first years the festival has been open for participants from other film schools from Ukraine and abroad. In 1975, the festival’s program featured full-length feature films alongside students’ shorts for the first time.
Originally, the Kyiv Film Festival primarily featured works by filmmakers from the Soviet states. It began to expand significantly during the times of Perestroika. In 1993, two years after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, the Molodist International Film Festival was officially accredited by the FIAPF as an international film festival fully compliant with the international standards. Molodist is one of the festivals that have been given specialized competitive status.
The main goal of the festival is to promote young professional cinema. The Molodist festival hosts a first feature film competition for up-and-coming filmmakers. Its main international competition is divided into three sections – Student Films, First Short Films (fiction, documentary, animated) and First Feature Films.
The Gran Prix and the symbol of the festival is the Scythian Deer. A statuette (along with a money prize) is awarded to the best film of the festival. The jury also awards the Best Film Award in each category. Besides, there are several special awards including the Audience Award, Best National Film, Molodist for Kids Award, Sunny Bunny Award (for the best LGBT-themed film), Ecumenical Jury Award, and FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award.
The non-competitive program of the festival traditionally features a number of sections which introduce viewers to the best national and international films and present the latest productions, both mainstream and experimental. The non-competitive sections include Ukrainian Premiers, Modern Ukrainian Cinema, You’ll Hear About Them, French Connection, German Wave, Long Nights of Short Films, Festival of Festivals, etc.