This fall KYIV MEDIA WEEK, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), successfully held six special events in cooperation with three European industrial forums. KYIV MEDIA WEEK 2022 Travel Edition started at the Serial Killer International Festival of Web and TV Series (September 20-25, Brno, Czech Republic). The midpoint of the Forum was at the MIA | International Audiovisual Market (October 11-15, Rome, Italy). KMW 2022 completed its journey at Europe's largest content market – the 38th International Co-Production and Entertainment Content Market MIPCOM (October 17-20, Cannes, France). Being partners with KMW, MBR presents a special project – KYIV MEDIA WEEK 2022 REVIEW – a brief squeeze of the key events of this year's KMW.
One of the goals of this year's forum was to convey to potential international partners that heroes for storytelling in any genre are born in Ukraine every day. Moreover, their stories are naturally connected with neighboring countries, guaranteeing the best co-production. Fresh ideas, some of which have not even become projects yet, but have the potential for co-production, were presented during the KMW session called Jump into Co-Creation! Discover Ukrainian Projects Available for Co-Production. Today we are telling you about seven projects and ten real stories presented at the Serial Killer festival. Please, keep in mind that some time has passed since the presentation, and some projects found partners so their status has changed (we are adding notes about that).
Yuryk, or the Road not Touching the Ground
Genre: Travel-drama. Production: Starlight Media, Osnova film production. Producers: Kateryna Sheveliuk, Tetyana Kuts, Victoria Gorenshtein. Scriptwriter: Valentina Rudenko.
This is a story of a little boy who crossed the border on his own after the war started. It starts in Mariupol, where the hero's family lives. After the full-scale russian invasion and the death of his father, sister, and grandfather due to constant shelling of the city, the boy's grandmother asks relatives in Europe to shelter her grandson. Yuryk goes on a long and difficult journey where he meets different people and faces new challenges. The main antagonist in the story is the war, which divided the lives of Ukrainians into before and after. But the plot also has a place for personalized antagonists. The project will be filmed in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine; production is also planned on the territory of the partner country where the boy's relatives live.
The project's creators were inspired by the story of an eleven-year-old boy from Zaporizhzhia who crossed the border with Slovakia at the beginning of March. He became known thanks to the publication on the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country
The boy's mother had to stay in Ukraine with his sick grandmother, so she put her son on the train. She wrote the phone number of the relatives he was going to on the child's arm
The project was presented as a miniseries (4 x 46'), but today the authors are leaning towards a full-length format. The Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, the Baltic States, Hungary, and Romania were mentioned as potential partners. According to STB manager Liudmila Semchuk, the co-production configuration has already been drawn up. The start of production is planned for 2023, and the project should be broadcast this year before the story loses its relevance.
Genre: Drama/Comedy. Production: FILM.UA Group. Producers: Anna Eliseeva, Kateryna Vyshnevska. Scriptwriter: Anastasia Lodkina.
The upcoming series (6 x 30') will focus on three Ukrainian women who have more than enough on their plates: school, work, fussy teenage kids, and even trouble with the local drug mafia. However, all this becomes meaningless the moment war comes barging into their homes. All three women take their children and are forced to flee to three different countries, where every day, they must face a new challenge and change the lives of people who help them for the better. Solving the problems of adaptation, the heroines learn a lot in the countries that gave them shelter, so considerable attention will be paid to issues of cultural exchange.
"After February 24, I moved to Germany, my colleagues to Croatia and France, my daughter-in-law to Portugal, my neighbors to Turkey, and my friends to the Netherlands. We traveled the world, and the world accepted us. It looks at us with interest. 'Who are these women from Ukraine? Who were they before the war? What can they do? Will they stay in our countries forever?' We want to answer these and other questions in our series about Ukrainian women just like us," showrunner Anastasia Lodkina explained her idea, which was born from real life.
The project is looking for potential partners for co-production in Europe, Great Britain, and New Zealand.
Genre: Drama/Dramedy. Production: 1+1 media. Producers: Lesya Pazenko, Inna Kondratyuk, Khrystyna Shkabar. Scriptwriter: Oleksandra Smilyanska.
The series (16/32 x 25') will tell about the wartime field hospital in a picturesque border town in the Lviv region that attracts not only Ukrainian doctors but also professionals from other countries. All of them have to work as a strong team for victory and to save people’s lives. Each character has a unique life story, based mainly on real facts. However, the project is not only about medicine and survival: the hospital is a place where new life, love, and friendships are born, and dreams go hand in hand with faith in victory.
"At the beginning of the full-scale war, which destroyed the happy lives of millions of our citizens, many doctors from different countries of the world came to Ukraine as volunteers to save, treat and help," said Khrystyna Shkabar, producer of development and co-production at 1+1 media, during the presentation. "Our series is one of the ways to thank international medical teams for their support. The real-life stories used in the series – dramatic, true, sincere – once again prove that we are strong and that good always wins over evil."
Alphabet of War. Foreign Legion
Genre: Military Drama, Fantasy, Adventures for Family Viewing. Production: Marker Media. Producers: Andrii Tanabash, Ella Boblenuk, Iryna Skyba. Scriptwriters: Yevhen Stepanenko, Maksim Kurochkin.
Ukrainian Yevhen is a successful manager in a Western company in Europe. When russia invades Ukraine, he decides to return home and join the ranks of the Defense Forces. His friends and colleagues in the office, representatives of several European countries decide to support him, and together with Yevgen join the Foreign Legion. Their children, saddened by the separation, decide to write their parents letters, which begin to mystically influence the fate of their parents and the victory in the war. But parents are also always mystically present in their children’s lives, helping them pass their teenage life trials.
The series (8 x 50') is based on the book Alphabet of War. This story is a correspondence between Yevhen Stepanenko, fighting in Donbas, and his daughter Solomiyka, waiting for her father in Kyiv. For the letters not to get lost, they start them in alphabetical order. This way, they got 33 stories that happened almost simultaneously to Solomiyka in peaceful Kyiv and her dad at war. The book has already been published in English and Croatian, and negotiations are underway for publication in Italy, France, Japan, Germany, and Lithuania.
The creators of the project are looking for partners for co-production in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Lithuania, and Great Britain.
The Boarding House
Genre: Thriller, Drama. Production: Studio Pilot. Producer: Olena Koshil. Scriptwriter: Yana (Tetiana) Dubynianska.
The upcoming series (6 x 45') tells about Ukrainians who, as a result of the evacuation, find themselves in a European mountain boarding house together with ordinary European tourists and even russians. The next morning, they realize that the boarding house is cut off from the world that has suffered a nuclear strike. Although, in fact, everything that happens to them in the boarding house is the latest experiment to study disaster consciousness.
The creators emphasize that the expectation of disaster has accumulated in the air for the last decade: the occupation of territories in the east, covid, and the full-scale russian invasion. What will happen next? Third world war? Nuclear war? Or a disaster that we can't even imagine? The answer to these questions will be sought in the series. Ukrainians, Europeans, and Russians, locked in the enclosed space of a boring boarding house, form a model of modern society.
The creators of the project are looking for partners for co-production in Poland, Finland, the Czech Republic, and Germany.
Tzarina / The Princess
Genre: Historical Drama. Production: FILM.UA Group. Producer: Olena Malkova. Scriptwriter: Leonora Pashchenko.
The events of the series (8 x 50'), based on Olga Kobylyanska's story Tzarina, unfold in the 19th century in Bukovina when the region was part of Austria-Hungary. The main character is Natalka, a twenty-year-old orphan. She lives with her uncle and his family. She is very different from other girls: she does not think about marrying a worthy man but dreams of becoming a writer. Natalka's uncle wants to marry her to a wealthy 50-year-old man, but she takes her fate into her own hands. She moves to a big city, enrolls in college, gets a job, and takes care of herself, which was extremely unusual for a Ukrainian woman at the end of the 19th century. In the end, after overcoming many difficulties, the heroine finds her purpose and true love.
The creators promise to show an exciting and beautiful story unfolding against the background of a crucial period in the history of Ukraine and the whole world. A potential partner for co-production is being sought primarily in Poland.
Genre: Dramedy. Production: Starlight Media. Producers: Dmytro Troitskyi, Oleksandr Bykov, Eugen Tunick. Scriptwriter: Eugen Tunick.
Eugen Tunick once again turns to the problems of modern teenagers and tries to talk about them, avoiding unnecessary didactics. The series (6 x 45') combines comedy, drama, and black comedy. The main character Vika hates her life and decides to commit suicide on the day of her sixteenth birthday – February 24. She prepares for this event for a long time – everything has to be as dramatic as possible because drama is Vika's style. However, the "ceremony" is canceled due to the outbreak of the full-scale war. Mother takes the girl to Europe, where she can start from scratch. But does she want a second chance? The heroine will have to overcome a difficult path to start loving her life again.
The story unfolds in two visual dimensions: the real world and the main character's imagination (during a difficult life situation, Vika's imagination makes the surrounding world phantasmagorical). Potential co-production partners include the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Spain, Great Britain, Norway, Belgium, Germany, and Italy.
This story was born in Chernivtsi, where Eugen initiated screenwriting courses for internally displaced teenagers. According to the showrunner, he developed it together with two students – Oleksandra Lintovska and Kateryna Kavnichuk
In October, the series became the winner of the MIPJUNIOR Project Pitch, which identifies ideas with the greatest potential for production and wide distribution
Heroes of War
These are ten stories of real Ukrainians, the lives of each of whom were radically changed by the war: a girl from Bucha who did not leave her apartment for a month to avoid russian invaders who occupied the first floors of her house; a professional soldier who was the only one of his group to survive a tank attack, survived capture and inhumane torture, but did not break down; a man from an occupied village who was buried alive with his murdered brothers; successful businessmen who joined the army, people living under constant shelling, volunteers, heroes who did not leave the occupation to help those who remained.
"Whether readers, viewers, or content creators, we are nothing without powerful stories. Starlight Media believes that strong stories can only be based on great and strong heroes. Unfortunately, strong characters are hardened by crisis situations. And the war is one of these situations," Nataliya Gerovska, who at that time was the director of content monetization at Starlight Media, emphasized during the presentation. Each of these stories is worth a stand-alone project, and the media group is looking for partners to develop each one.