Ukrainian film producer and co-founder of the Ukrainian Film Academy Julia Sinkevych (“Heat Singers”) has been selected as jury president for this year’s Series Mania Festival and its international competition.

“She has always been committed to supporting Ukrainian artists and the culture of her country from Kyiv, where she lives,” the festival said in a statement. “As her presence in Lille is not certain at this point in time, renowned French writer and director Marc Dugain, has been appointed as vice-president of this year’s jury.”

Sinkevych is also a member of European Film Academy and a member of the Ukrainian Oscars committee. From 2010 until 2020, Sinkevych worked as general producer of Odesa International Film Festival, one of the biggest audience film festivals in Eastern Europe. Currently Sinkevych is working on feature films “Lucky girl” by Marysia Nikitiuk and “Lesia” by Nana Janelidze.

The jury also includes German Christian Berkel (“Downfall”), Israeli actor Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”), Turkish creator and director Berkun Oya (“Bir Baskadir”) and French singer-songwriter and model Yseult.

Sinkevych said: “I am deeply moved and honored to join the jury of Series Mania which is a very special event for me. The festival celebrates the future forms of the audiovisual art, diversity of expression, while opening the minds of creators from all over the world who are closely connected to different audiences. At these times we know that culture is a powerful tool to stop the aggression and to bring to the world new talent. My country is part of that world cinema and now is fighting against all odds to demonstrate that it is the right of each human being to bring beauty, art, peace, and novelty to this world.”

Rodolphe Belmer, president of Series Mania, said: “We have chosen to give the presidency of the jury of the Series Mania international competition to a Ukrainian woman, producer, and manager for several years of one of the most important film festivals in Eastern Europe: the Odesa International Film Festival (of which Series Mania has long been a partner of). By proposing this presidency to Julia Sinkevych, who carries the colors of culture in a wounded country, we wish to show our support for the people of Ukraine and attest the importance of festivals in a world in crisis, as they create a place for people to come together to exchange ideas and celebrate our diversities.”

Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania added: “We have always said that series are the mirror to a period of time that resonate through their stories, their characters, and their subjects. Series Mania has always been dedicated to reflecting this continuous and intimate dialogue between culture and society. This is why we feel it is essential today to turn our attention to the tragic situation that is shaking Ukraine and the entire world. We are honored to have Julia serving as our jury president.”

Series Mania will take place March 18-25 in Lille, Northern France. The festival has barred Russian Film and TV advocacy organization Roskino following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.