Ukrainian cinematography is at its development stage at the moment. This stage started when the “iron curtain” of the Soviet Union fell. Since then Ukrainian directors and actors started to rise and are proof that Ukrainian cinema exists. Unfortunately the government doesn’t support this sphere or art too much and every year their financial budget is smaller and smaller, nevertheless Ukraine has sent several works from Ukrainian movie makers to the main event and competition of cinematography, the Oscar’s. Since 1997 only ten films were given the honor to represent Ukraine in Hollywood. Ukrainians are trying to be very selective whilst choosing their films but the judges of the “Oscar’s” are even more selective.
They have very strict rules to follow. In 2004 the film called “The driver for Vera” was nominated. Unfortunately later on in the process the judges had to disqualify this movie as it’s nomination was called “the best film in the foreign language”. One of the main and the most important rules of this nomination is the place where it was shot (which has to be outside of the USA) and the language used (non-English). The film “The driver for Vera” was shot in Ukraine, however the actors used the Russian language and many had Russian citizenship. After a long discussion it was decided not to allow this film to represent Ukraine.
In 2018 Ukraine will try to get its “Oscar” for the 10th time in history. This time the filmmakers have put big expectations on this filming winning in its nomination. The name of the 2017 nominee is “the level of black” by Valentin Vasianovich. The nomination this film will try to get a reward for is “The best movie in the foreign language”. The Ukrainian Oscar’s committee has chosen it from eight movies and the topic of this year that Ukraine represents is quite common. “The level of black” is about solitude in a big megapolis.
The main hero is the wedding photographer Kostia, being nearly 50 years old, he realised that everything he had goes away from him and he stays completely alone in a busy city losing his hobby, his career and the people he loves. Even though there are not so many people and things he loves. To be precise they are his paralyzed father, his friend who works for a wedding magazine, his old cat and old slides where he looks young and happy.
This film doesn’t fit any standards of an ordinary movie, the budget of the whole thing is only 10.000$, there are no famous actors, there are no words at all and there is not even a scenario! The “Level of black” film was shown at the movie festival in Odessa where it became the laureate of the FIPRESCI diploma. The citizens of Ukraine could watch it in the cinemas in August 2017. Now the international audience will hopefully enjoy it in March 2018 in Los Angeles, USA, where the Oscar’s will take place. For now it is possible to watch and review the official trailer on Youtube. The film also gets high ratings on movie rating websites.
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It will be the 90th anniversary of the Oscar awards. Every country is very hopeful to get it and so is Ukraine. Winning an Oscar will give lots of recognition in the world of cinematography to Ukrainian filmmakers and will possibly motivate the next generation to take on this profession and stay in Ukraine.