Emir Kusturica Stars at Odessa Fest Opening

Alexander Rodnyansky heads international jury

ODESSA, Ukraine — Ukraine’s Odessa Intl. Film Festival kicked off Friday with a glitzy opening at the city’s opulent Opera House, where Serbian director Emir Kusturica was presented with the fest’s trophy, the Golden Duke, for life-time achievement.

Kusturica said that Odessa held a particular significance for him because of “Battleship Potemkin,” which was partly shot in the city. To emphasize the point, he later played with his band, The No Smoking Orchestra, on Odessa Steps, which features in the most iconic scene in the film.

The presentation was followed by a screening of Robert Redford starrer “All Is Lost,” which was introduced by one of the pic’s producers, Anna Gerb. Speaking in Russian, she revealed that her grandmother lived in Odessa and Gerb spent time there as a child.

Festival president Victoria Tigipko spoke about the evolution of the young fest, which is in its fourth year, emphasizing its shift toward being an event focused on audience participation. One result of this was to have the audience choose the winner of the Golden Duke for best film.

“In the last year we have found the correct format and made it about the audience — now you define the winner,” Tigipko said.

The international jury awards its own prizes. It is headed by Russia’s top film producer Alexander Rodnyansky, whose credits include “Cloud Atlas” and “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” and also includes British producer Tanya Seghatchian, Georgian helmer-actress Nana Djordjadze, German thesp Franziska Petri and Ukrainian scribe Andrey Kurkov.

“There are cities that change the future of a country, and Odessa is one of them,” Rodnyansky said. “And there are events that change the fate of a city, and the Odessa Intl. Film Festival is such an event.”

Another focus of the fest is the Summer Film School, where students will listen to masterclasses from many of the international guests, including Kusturica, Rodnyansky, Seghatchian, who will speak about her work adapting the “Harry Potter” books, Czech helmer Jiri Menzel, who will speak about directing comedies, U.K. directors Michael Winterbottom and Mark Cousins, Austrian helmer Ulrich Seidl and U.S. vet helmer Roger Corman.

Winterbottom is being feted with a retrospective of his work.

The opening ceremony was hosted by popular Ukrainian TV presenters Alexey Sukhanov and Masha Efrosinina.

The fest wraps July 20.

More Film

  • The Lion King

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Crossing $100 Million Milestone

    Ahead of its domestic debut, Disney’s “The Lion King” is already roaring past $100 million in ticket sales globally. The hyper-realistic remake of the animated classic has generated $94.5 million from a handful of markets at the international box office and is expected to hit triple digits on Thursday. “The Lion King” opened Wednesday in [...]

  • 'It: Chapter Two' Trailer Released: Losers

    'It: Chapter Two' Trailer: Adult Losers Club Faces Off With Pennywise

    In the second trailer for “It: Chapter Two,” the Losers Club, now adults, return to face the evil force that is Pennywise. “Something happens to you when you leave this town, the farther away, the hazier it all gets,” says adult Mike in a voiceover. “But me, I never left. I remember all of it.” [...]

  • Richard Jenkins, Shane Paul McGhie Starring

    Richard Jenkins, Shane Paul McGhie to Star in Indie Comedy 'The Last Shift'

    “The Shape of Water” star Richard Jenkins and “What Men Want” actor Shane Paul McGhie have been cast in the independent comedy “The Last Shift.” The two will appear alongside Ed O’Neill, Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“High Fidelity”), Birgundi Baker (“The Chi”) and Allison Tolman (“Fargo”). Andrew Cohn is directing from his own script. “The Last [...]

  • The Band Doc 'Once Were Brothers'

    Robbie Robertson Documentary 'Once Were Brothers' to Open Toronto Film Festival

    “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band” will rock the opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary recounts the story of one of Canada’s musical legends — a man who served as both lead guitarist and primary songwriter on a group that introduced the likes of “The Weight” and “The Night [...]

  • Rounds

    Stephan Komandarev and Catalin Mitulescu Films Among Sarajevo's 23 World Premieres

    The latest films from Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev and Romania’s Catalin Mitulescu are among 23 world premieres competing for the Heart of Sarajevo awards at the 25th Sarajevo Film Festival. Komandarev’s 2017 film “Directions” played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and his 2008 opus, “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner,” was [...]

  • Tommy JamesCousin Brucie 3rd Annual Palisades

    Tommy James Biopic 'Me, the Mob and the Music' in Development (EXCLUSIVE)

    Pop music star Tommy James and film producer Barbara DeFina are developing the biopic “Me, the Mob and the Music,” based on James’ autobiography. DeFina, whose credits include Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” and “GoodFellas,” and James have tapped three-time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall to helm the film adaptation from a screenplay by Matthew Stone (“Intolerable [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    Comic-Con: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Cast Will Hit Reddit Live-Streamed AMA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Arnold is back — and he and other cast members of “Terminator: Dark Fate” are joining a first-of-its-kind live-streaming Reddit AMA on Thursday from Comic-Con International in San Diego. For the new installment in the “Terminator” franchise, Paramount Pictures and Skydance are hosting a traditional Comic-Con panel Thursday 11 a.m.-12 noon in Hall H. Then, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content