FOCUS spotlight interview with Victoria Yarmoshchuk of Ukrainian Motion Picture Association
Spotlight on FOCUS exhibitor Victoria Yarmoshchuk, Coordinator of the Cinema Division of the Humanitarian Policy Development Office of Ukraine and Executive Director of Ukrainian Motion Picture Association.
You are returning to exhibit at FOCUS 2019. What brings you back to FOCUS again this year?
FOCUS is one of the largest and most significant exhibitions of locations in the world. And for sure it is the most authoritative and significant in the European region. We are glad that last year, thanks to the support of the Ukrainian State Film Agency we were able to take part in the exhibition for the first time, and that now we have the opportunity to come back again. Because it is extremely important not only to attend these events but to do it on an ongoing basis. If we want to position ourselves as a country that has something to offer to the world in terms of filming locations, then we just have to be here. So our return to FOCUS is a logical step. Especially in the light of legislative changes in the field of film and television production that are currently taking place in Ukraine. Last year we noted a high level of interest to our country. But, unfortunately, this interest did not transform into a large flow of film crews: first of all, due to the fact that there was no cash rebate system in Ukraine. But now the situation is changing: starting next year the incentive will be in place. And this time before the start of FOCUS, we already have a list of preliminary meetings, in particular, with representatives of such media giants as HBO and Netflix. We are very pleased with this level of interest and look forward to these meetings.
What will you be promoting at the event?
First of all, locations. Our booth will be decorated with a photo collage of various Ukrainian locations. Being based on the experiences of the last year, we know that it works: people pass by the booth, see these impressive photos and become interested. They stop, ask questions and learn that Ukraine is a country where you can find everything: from mountains to deserts, from forests to seas, from medieval architecture to post-Soviet buildings or modern urban landscapes. And then they begin to ask about the possibilities for cooperation. So we primarily focus on a variety of locations as well as on the accessibility and favorable conditions for cooperation with our country. In addition to the showcase, we will also hold a presentation to tell more about Ukraine, our film market, locations and opportunities for cooperation.
Can you tell us more about Ukrainian Motion Picture Association?
The Ukrainian Motion Picture Association has been operating in the market for many years - since 2012. We have two main areas of activity – in-country market development and the promotion of Ukraine in the international arena. In particular, within the framework of the implementation of the international direction of our activity, we organize Ukrainian national stands and presentations at the world's largest industry events, including the second time at FOCUS. Recognition of the country at the global level is an integral part of the establishment and development of the national industry. So we focus our efforts to shape this recognition.
Can you tell us about Ukraine as a filming destination?
A variety of locations, I mentioned before, is one of the undoubted competitive advantages of Ukraine. But there are also others. In particular, Ukraine can provide very good value for money. Our film and television production will be 20-30% cheaper than in other Eastern European countries, and the quality will often be much higher. The proof is the success of Ukrainian films or films made in co-production with Ukraine both at festivals and in terms of commercial sales. Everyone who saw anything produced in our country with intentions to travel worldwide, can notice that the quality is high. Our films and TV shows are available on Netflix, Amazon and other platforms. Filmed in co-production with Ukraine, on our locations, Agnieszka Holland’s Mr. Jones (2019) participated in the main competition at the Berlin International Film Festival this year. The period drama Love In Chains (2019) (pictured above) was entirely produced in Ukraine, for Ukrainian money, on Ukrainian locations, in Ukrainian costumes and became the leader of ratings on the Polish TVP1 channel. This case is unprecedented for Poland, the fact that a foreign product has become a leader, moreover – a Ukrainian product. Summing up, Ukraine is an attractive destination, due to the richness of locations, the high level and variety of services at reasonable prices. And the fact that starting 2020 year the cash rebate system will definitely work in Ukraine makes our country even more competitive.
What foreign productions have been recently shot in Ukraine?
In recent years, more and more foreign films have been shot in Ukraine. For example, if we take the period from 2015 to today, we are talking about almost twenty full-length feature films. The geography of producing countries is impressive: the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany, Israel, India, China and many other European and Asian countries. For example, the shootings of the following films were partly taking part in Ukraine: The Girl With All The Gifts (2015, Great Britain; production companies Altitude Film Entertainment and Poison Chef with the support of the British Film Institute Creative England program); The Death Of Stalin (2017, UK, France, Belgium; Gaumont, Main Journey, Quad Productions, France 3 Cinema, La Cie Cinématographique, Panache Productions, and AFPI). I mentioned before completely foreign films, but there are also a very large number of projects made in co-production with Ukraine – both films and TV series. The most striking example is the sensational HBO project Chernobyl (2019), which was partially shot in Ukraine with the participation of Ukrainian production company Radioaktivefilm. While the Chernobyl power plant in the series was the VFX model totally created by Ukrainian studio POSTMODERN. And let's not forget about the huge number of music videos of leading world performers – Miley Cyrus, Twenty One Pilots, Foals, Hurts, Nothing But Thieves, etc. – which were also shot in Ukraine. And also about world famous brands commercials: for example, Apple. In a word, Ukraine is a really demanded destination. And we hope that with the cash rebate system implementation, our country will be increasingly in demand.
You have recently introduced a new incentive, what can you tell us about this?
This year, Ukraine has finally completed all legislative changes that launch the cash rebate system in 2020. The system envisages a 25% return of qualified expenses to foreign production as well as an additional 5% in case the project touches Ukrainian IP. For example, it is based on Ukrainian literary work or contains other semantic elements that directly relate to our country and promote it.
A foreign producer can receive cash rebate exclusively through a Ukrainian partner. This system applies to all types of services including post-production and animation. The successful implementation of cash rebate is a priority for our newly created Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. Moreover, Minister Volodymyr Borodyansky promised to provide all kinds of support to the projects that would come to Ukraine after launching this system. We know that there is a certain mistrust to our country: before we did not have this system, so will it function properly? But, I repeat, this is our priority: to make success stories appear, and ensure that the new system operates smoothly and efficiently.
Register now for your free delegate badge to meet with Ukrainian Motion Picture Association are exhibiting at FOCUS 2019. Meet them tat Stand S72 of attend Exhibitor Presentation on Tuesday 3 December at 12:20.
Biography of Victoria Yarmoshchuk
Victoria Yarmoshchuk – Coordinator of the Cinema Division of the Humanitarian Policy Development Office of Ukraine, Executive Director of Ukrainian Motion Picture Association.
Victoria`s key field of expertise is media projects management, organization of international events, Ukrainian and CIS region media industry development and representation of the local media market at international level. Her working experience in the media sphere is more than 18 years.
Since 2006 and till present time she is a CEO of media consultancy Media Resources Management (MRM), the organizer of the international media forum KYIV MEDIA WEEK (since 2011).
In 2016 she has become an Executive Director of Ukrainian Motion Picture Association, a professional NGO presenting interests of filmmakers in Ukraine.
It is also worth mentioning that Victoria actively participated in development of strategies for creative industries in Ukraine together with local and international organizations and authorities.
Since 2018, Victoria Yarmoshchuk has been an Advisor to the Minister of Culture of Ukraine. Since 2019 Victoria is a Coordinator of the Cinema Division of the Humanitarian Policy Development Office of Ukraine.
Victoria is a speaker and moderator at numerous industry events and conferences, regular participant of key international markets and festivals including MIPTV and MIPCOM, NATPE Miami / Budapest, LA Screenings, Berlinale, Marché du Film, Beijing International Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival and many others.
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