Ukraine’s film-TV industry is putting words into action through “Ukrainian Content. Global Cooperation,” a joint initiative kick-started by key local media companies (https://www.facebook.com/ukrainiancontent.globalcooperation) as well as the Ukraine Content Club, a newly established worldwide community and fund that aims to sustain the industry impacted by Russian invasion.
The latter, still in an early development stage and mentioned during the Stand with the Ukrainian Media Industry panel at Toledo’s Conecta Fiction, will help finance development and production of scripted drama, animation and factual content.
An independent board will allocate the money to productions based on pre-defined selection criteria. Such content will then available to contributing partners on a non-exclusive basis to air on their channels or platforms.
“We want to talk about our industry’s reaction to the war, but not from the angle of ‘how bad things are.’ We want to [show] how we manage to adapt our businesses and continue doing what we love,” Media Resources Management’s Kateryna Udut told Variety before the in-person event, noting the continuous support of various media outlets and TV and film markets.
“They help us spread our message and support Ukrainian companies, which means a lot. It’s priceless during these hard times,” she added.
Stressing that the Ukrainian audiovisual industry is an integral part of the European and global market, the participants observed that despite the struggles, they will keep on working – simply because it matters, noted Film.UA Group’s Kateryna Vyshnevska.
Nataly Yakovleva from production company Bank of Ideas pointed out that following a heated fight for survival, Ukrainian content creators are now “ready to work with double force.”
“We really have to face this challenge and become stronger. We are inventing new formats and options for co-operation that can unite and create new meaning, not just for Ukrainians,” said 1+1 Media’s Khrystyna Shkabar, also mentioning the United News program, another “unprecedented” example of past competitors joining forces in order to provide verified information.
“We have a huge responsibility, especially right now: It’s our responsibility to provide truthful information,” she added. However, the mission is also to “support and inspire the audience,” for example by showing animated content for children, documentaries or hosting TV charity marathons.
“The pandemic has taught us how to deal with crises, in a way. In that sense, war is just another crisis, although bigger and worse, more tragic and traumatic,” argued Vyshnevska.
“The reality is simple: We need investment from other countries to make sure we continue to produce content. But co-producing with Ukraine actually makes sense for Europe, as well as the [rest of the] world, because war has changed life not just for us in Ukraine.”
As noticed by Yakovleva, smaller production companies have already proven their flexibility by producing war-related content to distribute on social media. But apart from experienced filmmakers and crews, “picturesque” locations or diverse content that has been successful internationally, low production costs are also working in the country’s favor.
“It’s not expensive to produce premium content in Ukraine,” said Vyshnevska, adding that initiatives such as Ukraine Content Club will create jobs at the time of need and ensure that the industry will survive to tell stories the world “needs and wants to see.”
“We are aiming to raise funds to ensure that Ukrainian voices will be heard,” she explained.
“Right now, Ukraine is very open to new ideas and partnerships, like never before. We also ask you to support us in terms of promotion. We do need maximum visibility for our businesses, our projects and ideas,” said Kateryna Udut.
“We are not going to stop what we are doing, and we hope you will join us for the ride. Where there is a will, there is a way,” summed up Vyshnevska, bringing up examples of Israel and South Korea.
“I think we are next. All this adversity has reinforced our creativity.”