Odessa International Film Festival

Odessa International Film Festival
Photo: oiff.com.ua
The Odessa International Film Festival (OIFF) is held every summer in the city of Odessa, Ukraine. Founded in 2010, it is one of the largest film festivals in Eastern Europe. The festival attracts approximately 120,000 attendees over 9 days.

The first film festival in Odessa, the Odessa Alternative Film Festival, took place in 1987. The next year it was renamed the Golden Duke Film Festival after Armand Emmanuel du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu who served as the first Governor of Odessa from 1803 to 1814. The festival was held every year until 1991. It was discontinued following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Although there was an unsuccessful attempt to revive the festival in 2003, it wasn't until 2010 that Odessa begin to host an annual film festival again.

The inaugural Odessa International Film Festival was held from July 16–24, 2010. To emphasize the continuity of generations, the organizers named the main award of the festival the Golden Duke Award. Besides, the logo of the festival portrays the Duke of Richelieu monument in downtown Odessa. The first festival screened 16 films in the competition program and over 50 films out of competition.

Over the years, OIFF has become the largest non-specialized film festival in Ukraine (another major film event, the Molodist International Film Festival held in Kyiv, focuses on films by young filmmakers). It hosts two main competitions, the International Film Competition and the National Film Competition. Since 2016, it has also been hosting the European Documentary Competition. As we've already mentioned above, the Grand Prix of the festival is the Golden Duke Award. Other awards include Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Special Jury Mention, and Audience Award.

Alongside the competitive program, the festival hosts a series of non-competition screenings (premieres, retrospectives, special screenings, etc.), industry events (pitching sessions, presentations, round tables, panel discussions, workshops, and the Summer Ukrainian Film Market), a series educational events and activities for filmmakers named the Summer Film School, opening and closing ceremonies, networking events, and more.

One of OIFF's main highlights is a series of free open-air film screenings on the famous Potemkin Stairs accompanied by a symphonic orchestra. The stairs are the best known symbol of Odessa, they can be seen in Sergei Eisenstein's film The Battleship Potemkin. Another venue that hosts outdoor screenings is the Langeron Descent.

The Odessa International Film Festival is one of the largest and most anticipated cultural events in Ukraine. The 2016 edition screened 114 films from 36 countries and featured 5,500 accredited guests and 850 accredited film professionals.

In 2020, the festival was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 festival was canceled due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and its national competition was held at the Warsaw International Film Festival.

Odessa International Film Festival

Photo: oiff.com.ua




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