Odesa International Film Festival 2021
In 2020, the Odesa International Film Festival was held online for the first time due to the pandemic and quarantine restrictions. Currently the team of the film festival is working on its reformatting in accordance with new challenges and realities.
This year all international film festivals faced exactly the same problems, but each solves them in its own way, from the complete cancellation of events to the invention of hybrid forms, involving, for example, screenings in different cities.
Perhaps the most elegant possible path was chosen by the organizers of the Odesa International Film Festival, who decided in advance not to take risks with offline and postponed the forum enough to have time not only to transfer film screenings online, but to arrange an industrial section in the usual volumes, conduct a full-fledged promotional campaign and even preserve the atmosphere of the OIFF that without Odessa, sea and summer it seems impossible.
In the next few years, the focus on closeness, a local audience of festivals will increase, because they will be in demand at home. International openness and mobility will slow down slightly. Of course, Cannes, Berlin, Venice and other major festivals will be preserved, this is a matter of state culture, prestige; they will be saved regardless of what is happening. But for smaller regional festivals this will be a serious test of survival.
The filmmakers will be able to submit their films to the competition programmes of the 12th Odesa International film festival in February 2021.
The 12th OIFF in an updated format will be held in July 2021 in Odessa.
An important point is how to ensure equal conditions for competitive films and the most transparent voting. The OIFF decided: each film will be available for two days – that is, the same period of time for the audience to vote. Viewers will register, identify themselves using email and other data, and the site will have a “Vote for the movie” button. Everything happens as before, when viewers received ballots in the halls, but now they will have an online scale of one to five.
Due to the turning offline festival to online, the budget of the OIFF has decreased by about 40%. Previously, almost half of the budget was spent on flights, accommodation for participants and the festival team in Odessa, renting locations, and equipment. This year they don’t have it. But there were development costs. The rights to films have also risen in price, because this is a different type: not cinema, but VoD rights.
Last year, we had 165 thousand viewers. In this we calculated the maximum figure – up to 200-250 thousand, based on the maximum occupancy rate. That is, the screenings will not be unlimited – in fact, sessions in ordinary cinemas are also limited to a certain number of seats. But again, there are events in the open access, ceremonies – they can also attract an audience. In general, 200-250 thousand is our benchmark.Yulia Sinkevych, General Producer, Odesa International Film Festival
Most of the budget replenishment is state funding: we are helped by the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, Odessa City Administration, Odessa Regional Administration. Also, the OIFF received a grant from the European Union’s Creative Europe program – this helps to cover the cost of rights to European films. As far as sponsors are concerned, unfortunately there are fewer of them. And there are several reasons: on one hand, the priority was offline, direct contact with the audience. On the other hand, now these companies are also experiencing problems. Buying tickets, the moment of support by spectators and authors of paintings, and the festival. A ticket for a movie costs 60 UAH, a subscription 750 UAH for more than a hundred films and 50 other events.
There are three pillars that we always focus on: Odessa, sea and cinema. Whatever we do, it must be there. Not always in a literal sense, but in one way or another it is present in all our decisions regarding strategy, communication, promotions, ceremonies, and so on.Yulia Sinkevych, General Producer, Odesa International Film Festival
On the oiff.online platform, a separate module is expected – with an access for accredited participants. There will be panel discussions on topics of concern to all those involved in the film industry. In previous years, the industry conference Cinema Backstage focused on one specific topic, this year there will be several. Eurimages – we will focus on the opportunities for Ukrainian projects, because Ukraine has just joined the fund. There will be the topic of gender stereotypes in the film professions, as well as the topic of the psychological aspect of work in the film industry, including coronavirus.
Book Pitch is planned. A new topic for OIFF, pitching of TV series and a lecture in partnership with the international educational program Meet Point. It will be a talk about alternative distribution channels (Netflix and VoD in general) and their impact on producers.
The opening will be unlike anything. I think we have a cool idea: a lot of elements of Odessa, atmosphere – something that will help to recreate the spirit of the OIFF. And the closing, of course, will be more traditional, because there is a procedure for awarding prizes – with the inclusion of winners, jury members and guests.Yulia Sinkevych, General Producer, Odesa International Film Festival