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Toronto Film Fest Unveils Films, Panels to “Elevate” Ukrainian Creators

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The Toronto Film Festival will rally in solidarity with Ukrainian film producers amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war by holding two industry panels at the Canadian festival’s 47th edition.

The first Sept. 12 panel will feature six Ukrainian filmmakers behind recent festival circuit hits, incl Butterfly Vision producer Darya Bassel, whose film was the only Ukrainian feature in Cannes’ official selection this year; Luxembourg, Luxembourg producer Volodymyr Yatsenko, whose film will screen in Toronto after bowing in Venice; and Ihor Savychenko, who produced the 2019 film The Painted BirdVaclav Marhoul’s grim Holocaust drama adapted from Jerzy Kosinski’s novel.

Also in Toronto on the panel to discuss current and future film projects is Valeria Sochyvets, producer of the 2020 film Blindfold, and Egor Olesov, who produced the 2019 Ukrainian film Mr. Jones.

The second Sept. 13 panel will discuss possible co-production opportunities for Ukrainian productions and their creators impacted by the war.

Toronto is following the lead of the Venice and Cannes film festivals, which similarly held industry panels to present Ukrainian creators and their projects in different stages of development and production in a bid for international co-production partners and financing.

“Film holds the power to unite and this year we are honored to help elevate the voices of Ukrainian storytellers and creators,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a statement on Tuesday.

Besides hosting a Ukrainian delegation in Toronto, the film festival has also set a free public screening for director Evgeny Afineevsky’s Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, the North American premiere of a documentary about the war in Ukraine that spans from a conflict in the Donbas region beginning in 2014 to Russia’s larger invasion of Ukraine starting in February of this year.

TIFF will also give a North American premiere to Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk; Antonio Lukich’s Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Mariupol 2, the Ukraine war documentary by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius that had a special Cannes screening; Michal Vinik’s Valeria Is Getting Married; and Victima film by Michal Blaško that has a Ukrainian protagonist.

The Toronto Film Festival is set to run from Sept. 8 to 18.



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