Ukrainian Studios Bring Creative Spirit to Annecy
For the third year in a row, the popular Ukrainian animation booth at Annecy will be overflowing with creative projects from a record number of the country’s talented artists and studios. This year’s delegation is supported by the Ukrainian State Film Agency, the Embassy of Ukraine in France and the Ukrainian Institute. Industry observers are noting that the region’s animated projects have been attracting both domestic and foreign investors, and are growing in popularity and critical response from moviegoers and small-screen viewers around the world.
One of this year’s highlights is the highly acclaimed animated feature Deep Love, directed by Mykyta Lyskov, which is selected to compete at the Annecy Festival. Consisting of several unrelated episodes, the wordless feature focuses on relationships between people. “To participate in such a festival, and to even compete in the program is something that I couldn’t even dare to dream about,” says Lyskov.
The Head of the Ukrainian State Film Agency Pylyp Illienko adds, “For the first time in the history of Ukrainian cinema, our film is participating in the main competition of an animation festival of such magnitude. In my opinion, the work of the Ukrainian Stand MIFA market has made a significant impact. The film Deep Love is created in a very unusual and innovative style, and I am glad that our experts have realized this project’s promising outlook by providing it with support.”
Director of Chervony Sobaka studio Olena Golubeva says, “After participating in Annecy festival for two years in a row, Ukraine has begun to be regarded as a serious international partner and has been attracting various initiatives worldwide. Without exaggeration, we can say that the Association actively promotes the creative potential of Ukrainian studios and supports their participation in the presentation on many international venues. One of the big signs of our changing image is artist Ilya Chichkan’s design, which is based on the works of Mariya Primachenko. You can see characters come to life in different animation styles in the best traditions of the Ukrainian animation school.”
Also participating at the market is Studio KAPI, which offers new creative ideas and combines safe content for children with imaginative design and high production values at low costs. Its upcoming animated feature 23
Insults, which is based on Natalia Guzeeva’s book, was showcased at the Animation Production days in Stuttgart in May.
Studio KAPI is also bringing Labra Cadabra, a new sci-fi animated TV comedy featuring puppets, developed by Olga Titova. The show’s main character Myshkin the Mouse, which appeared at the Monstrinha Animation Festival in Lisbon, will also be on hand to take photos with visitors at the Ukrainian stand throughout MIFA in Annecy.
As the studio’s producer Michael Margulis points out, ”For international market success, there is a need for constant contact with potential international partners and distributors. Participation in international film markets and festivals is a way to check how your film community contributes to your work.”
Successful animation player Animagrad Studio is continuing to make its presence known at the festival and market. As the studio’s exec director Oleksii Tolubko points out, the studio continues to find new audiences for its international feature hit Stolen Princess. “We’re following the success of that movie with several new projects. We’re working on movies such as Mavka: The Forest Song (which is in production right now) and Roksolana, and we continue to expand our TV projects with series such as Hrafn’s Academy and The WhizzKids Club.”
Another big participant this year is Kvartal 95 animation studio, which will present its upcoming animated feature Gulliver Returns, which is slated for a 2020 release date. The ambitious project is helmed by Ilya Maksimov (Smeshariki) and animator Tony Bonilla, a veteran of Disney features such as Moana, Zootopia and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Writer/producer Michael Ryan (All Hail King Julien, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny) is also involved with the project.
As Volodymyr Sheiko, general director of the Ukrainian Institute notes, “The support by the Ukrainian Institute of our animation delegation is a strategic investment for us in the development of Ukrainian animation. Annecy is the world’s largest animation industry platform; the films that are showcased and received attention here have a chance for international recognition. This provides us with a great opportunity to adequately present Ukrainian animation to international experts.” ◆
Producer of the KAPI studio Michael Margulis Executive director UANIMA, director of the Chervony Sobaka studio Olena Golubeva and Jean M Thoren, President Animation Magazine
Press secretary of Ukrainian State Film Agency Mariia Didyk with guests of the stand