UN Volunteer helps Ukrainian Highlight Pictures to finetune work with film partners in Africa and beyond

reprinted from Highlight Pictures website

updated January 4, 2014

Misha Maltsev (right) and Nikolai Bazanov of Highlight Pictures with Hope Obioma Opara (centre), President of Eko International Film Festival and CEO of Supple Communications Ltd at 2013 Cannes (Photo by AlabamaUncut).
Michael Maltsev (right) and Nikolai Bazanov of Highlight Pictures with Hope Obioma Opara (centre), President of Eko International Film Festival and CEO of Supple Communications Ltd at 2013 Cannes (Original photo by AlabamaUncut).

As the film industry becomes increasingly globalized, film-making in Ukraine still suffers from  parochial attitudes. A solution to the problem can be found by answering the question – what do skilled — however often underestimated — Ukrainian film talent have to offer the global audience today? And keep in mind that the target audience could be both Ukrainians in the diaspora and Chinese college students in western Ukraine.

Working towards creation of a sustainable model for the development of contemporary Ukrainian film culture, Highlight Pictures realizes the importance of establishing strong ties with partners and investors abroad.

Feathered Dreams, Final Touches. Hunching over the first Ukrainian-Nigerian movie two days before the 2013 Marché du Film where Highlight Pictures premiered the film in May. (Photo by Andy Kozlov)

Here is story we often share with whoever wants to listen, to illustrate our methods:

Once upon a time, Andy Kozlov, an United Nations Volunteer , came across the trailer of our romantic feature about a Nigerian student in Ukraine, Feathered Dreams. The clip prompted Andy to get in touch with us making  a suggestion to provide voluntary service to promote the Ukrainian-Nigerian film and our future projects.

Andy explains:

The opportunity to collaborate with the Highlight Pictures team allowed me to introduce a significant group of young culture practitioners in Ukraine to the values upheld by the United Nations. I immediately spotted some traits of these values in Feathered Dreams. Things like multiculturalism, tolerance. It just needed to be enhanced a bit more in the promotion campaign. 

My new Ukrainian friends also were increasingly embracing the idea of somebody providing an educated service on a voluntary basis.

The unique and extraordinary approach demonstrated by the colleagues from Highlight Pictures – for instance, Feathered Dreams  is the first feature film produced in Ukraine entirely in English – allows us to increasingly discuss with Ukrainians such topics as sustainable development and social inequality by using the language of cinema, universally understood in countries from Austria to Zimbabwe.

2013 Discop Africa media market, the key media market targeting African audiences from Johannesburg to Kyiv, through Lagos, Paris and Los Angeles.

One of the first steps in implementation of the enhanced development strategy for Highlight Pictures was Andy’s visit to Estonia in early August, to discuss co-production opportunities with the Estonian Filmmakers Union.

2013 DISCOPRO Africa conference in Johannesburg, South Africa: Show Me the Money panel discussion moderated by Rick Feldman, longtime CEO of NATPE media market (first from left), with Basil Ford (IMDB), Head of Media and Motion Pictures Unit, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (third from right) and Andy Kozlov (first from right) (Photo Eric Megret)

Before year end, Andy will be in Italy and give a speech in Johannesburg, South Africa at the key media market targeting African audiences, Discop Africa.

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