BEVERLY HILLS—From May 8 to May 14, the Beverly Hills Laemmle Music Hall will be home to the Ukrainian Film Festival.
Anatoly Fradis, Ukrainian producer and long-time promoter of Eastern European cinema, teamed up with the European Film Services Corporation and the Ukrainian Union of Filmmakers to arrange this historic “First Hollywood Festival of the Best Ukrainian Films.”
As the name suggests, nearly20 films—some from the Soviet era, some contemporary—were carefully chosen to provide insight into the complex cultural and cinematic heritage of Ukraine.
The festival will kick off with “Flights in Dreams and in Reality,” director Roman Balayan’s 1983 film about Sergei Makarov (played by Oleg Yankovsky) who, on his 40th birthday, reflects on the futility of his life. Makarov’s concern paralleled the feelings of many Ukrainians in the years before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The 2014 movie “The Tribe,” which won the grand prize during critics week in Cannes for its bleak depiction of violence and disaffection in a school for the deaf and mute, captures popular anxiety about the continued violence between pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine and the pro-European Union government.
Though some of the content is somber, Fradis is hopeful that turnout at the festival will be good. “The interest is great—my phone rings non-stop,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. He adds, “We are expecting some Hollywood celebrities and we are anticipating a pretty large crowd.”
Some celebrities in attendance may include John Voight and Mila Kunis, though their appearance has not yet been confirmed.