Menu Close

Olga Zhurzhenko

Biography of Olga Zhurzhenko as an alien of extraordinary ability

I’m a professional producer with several shorts, documentaries and one big feature film production behind my back. Plus I have always been active in non-governmental organizations due to my belief in proactive approach to life.

Film Industry. Why not oil, automotive, fashion or any other industry?
My father worked in camera department on many films during former-Soviet Union time. One or two projects with Kira Muratova even. And He always dreamed about becoming a DOP. That’s why he studied at VGIK (main Russian film university in Moscow) and even wrote a script. Anyways, I have been to shooting sets often during childhood and read film scripts at home like other kids read books. (During an interview to Kyiv National University of Theatre, Film and TV) I quoted a book, called “Film as Business”, and the interviewer was really impressed because apparently this book was very rare. And I got it off my shelf at home)

Early developments. 1997-1998-1999. So when I was a teenager I saw a movie, called American Beauty. I was so impressed by that film that I started dreaming about being on film set and advising something quietly to the director and he would change things. Many years later I realized that this is actually what a producer does (whispering to Directors ear and making him change stuff ) At that time I was starting my last year in high school and it was time to think about college. Evidently if I wanted to be in film industry I had to go to the US. As the catalogues from different colleges and universities kept arriving I paid to take the TOEFL and SAT tests with all the money I earned during summer. I didn’t do too well on either of them, so my dream of a US film school wasn’t realistic anymore. But the organization that administered SAT test (called ACCELS) in Odessa was at that time also administering Freedom Support Act Undergraduate Exchange program sponsored by Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the Department of State of the US. That non-degree program let students from Ukraine and other countries of former soviet union study in a US University for one academic year (on J-1 visa) in order to serve as a cultural ambassador to the US. I didn’t succeed from the first time, so I devoted my freshman year in Odessa National University Psychology department fully to study the nature of human beings (which helped me later a lot when I worked with people). During my second year of college I started to work and studied English more than psychology, so when I applied for the second time to the exchange program I did much better on TOEFL and this time application was successful. Because there was no film on the list on majors in the application I chose one of the closest to creative sphere – Journalism.

Start of International Experience. 2001-2002. Before taking off the US, I was also one of 10 students selected from the University for exchange with German university in Regensburg. It was called “German – Ukrainian exchange studies program “Tandem”. So I spent a month in Germany (March, 2001) studying children psychology and german language and at the end wrote an article “Kinder in Regensburg” (“Children in Regensburg”)

At the end of summer 2001 after two pre-departure orientations in Kiev and Washington, I got to St. Bonaventure University, NY in upstate New York. I signed up to every possible club I could, including Management, Marketing, Finance and Model UN club. Thanks to field trips of those clubs I visited Boston, New York, Chicago and even Montreal, Canada. But of course, even though it was far away and expensive and no club offered any field trips to that place I went to Los Angeles on one of the breaks.

This year gave me tremendous advance in oral and written English as well as self-esteem and understanding that I can do a lot. Not only did it teach me about American mentality but also showed how important community service is. I wrote articles for campus newspaper and I helped others with foreign languages, etc.

ONUMUN in Odessa, Ukraine. 2002-2013. At Model UN club we organized a model UN event for high-school children in the University. So when I came back home and felt that my fourth year in the University in psychology department was just not enough work, I decided to do a Model UN in Odessa. I found a partner who was also interesting in Model UN. We named the conference Odessa National University Model UN (ONUMUN). During the first year it was just one commercial sponsor and space donated by the University but since second year we started receiving grants. As an alumna of ECA FSA Undergraduate program I was eligible for small grants for community service projects. First grant was 500 dollars, but then we got USD 5000 from ECA four years (2004-2005 and 2007-2008) to organize our conference. In 2009 we got a grant for conference from International Renaissance Foundation. Starting from 3rd year it became international – we held sessions in English and had people travel from Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Georgia and other countries. And even though I stopped actively working on this event yearly, it still runs every autumn. http://www.onumun.org/ Around 2008 – we registered an NGO with my partner and named it “Promotion of Intercultural Cooperation” (NGO PIC) http://ngopic.org.ua/. So since its start I work on various non-profit projects as its leader, Executive Director.

While working actively on ONUMUN I visited several Model UNs in Europe: The European International Model UN (TEIMUN) in The Hague, The Netherlands (as a grantee of Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the US in Ukraine); Geneva International Model UN (GIMUN) in Geneva, Switzerland thanks to a grant from GIMUN, MGIMO Model UN in Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow, Russia

FMCG sector. 2004-2009. After I finished University in 2004 I enrolled into British American Tobacco’s Management Trainee program. Very competitive program but I always felt like I’m doing something wrong. This job moved me from my hometown Odessa to Kyiv – the capital of Ukraine. In 2006-2009 I worked in Procter and Gamble as sales in a small town Vynnitsa in the middle of Ukraine, but again I was returning back to web-sites of VGIK and other film schools every couple of months to see if I could enroll somehow. I was so bored at that job that I took a vacation to study Italian in August 2007 and successfully completed an Italian language course in “Scuola Leonardo da Vinci”, Milan, Italy

Start in Film. The more time I worked for P&G the more I talked to everyone around me that I wanted to change the career path. One of our family friends is the best Ukrainian Editor and his wife is Production Manager. They heard my story and after some time invited me to work on set of a TV movie as production assistant. I took a sick leave (vacation) from P&G and worked 2 weeks on set. At the closing party everyone on the producers’ team was joking behind my back that “you’d better be careful with this girl because within 1-2 years she’ll be handing you your salary”. This was spring 2007.

Karpenko Kariy University. (Kyiv National University of Theatre, Film and TV) Summer same year I found out everything I could about local film University in Kyiv. Because I already had a University degree – I entered this school directly to second year (skipping freshman year) after one exam and an interview, which I described above. My bosses in P&G were faced with the fact that I had become a student, but they couldn’t do anything because Ukrainian law allows two vacations per year for studies (examination sessions).
While hanging around University building I met my first director Kateryna Naumenko. We made a short together (first for me, second or third for her) called “Not Scared” I can make it available to watch online if needed

“Not Scared” got one prize (2nd Best Digital View South East Europe Film Award @ Naoussa International Film Festival (Naoussa, Greece) and went to these festivals Molodist International Film Festival 2009 (Kyiv), New CitizenMovieContest (Kyiv), Open Night Film Festival (Kyiv), VGIK Int. Film Festival (Moscow, Russia), KAN Film Festival (Wroclaw, Poland), Delray Beach Festival (FL, USA), Innsbruck IFF (Innsbruck, Austria), Lubusskie Lato Filmowe (Lagow, Poland), Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival (Batumi, Georgia), Romania IFF (Bucharest, Romania), Cottbus IFF (Cottbus, Germany), Sedicicorto Film Festival (Forli, Italy)

(On a side note – I know organizers of several festivals (Batumi, Cottbus, Molodist, Odessa, Anapa) so can ask them to write letters for example that my film got recognition instead of just participation)

Later on, when I was starting as a Producer I invited Kateryna to direct my first TV feature film “Doch Bayanista” (Daughter of Accordion-player) (2012), which got admitted to TV section of Open Film Festival of CIS and Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia Kinoshok in Anapa, Russia

Then I met another director Sergei Silyava and we made a short “Switchman” together. It was a big deal for us because it was shot on 16 mm film. I can make it available to watch online if needed

“Switchman” went to Molodist International Film Festival2009, NewCitizenMovieContest (Kyiv), Koktebel Film Festival (Koktebel, Ukraine), Delray Beach Festival (FL, USA), Lubusskie Lato Filmowe (Lagow, Poland), Naoussa International Film Festival (Naoussa, Greece)

Co-production in Film. 2009 – a year of big change.

At the beginning of 2009 I was still employed by P&G but my heart was with film. I was studying in Film School and made two shorts. However, I already felt that film is an international business and started researching international co-productions in film. This brought me to EAVE (Europeam Audiovisual Entrepreneurs) Film Finance Forum in Luxembourg. This event opened my eyes and I left P&G very soon afterwards to start independent career in Film.

In summer 2009 I met Rob Nilsson – a Director from San Francisco. http://www.robnilsson.com or http://citizencinema.net He came to Odessa to study the early years of Russian revolution-maker Leon Trotsky. We went on a field trip to Trotsky’s hometown and made some research. Later (I think it was 2010) Rob came back with his trusted DOP Mickey Freeman http://www.mickeyfreemandp.com and we went on for shooting to same places in the middle of Ukraine. It was a great adventure, which Rob later created a film from. “What Happened Here?” film is now available on Fandor platform.

On September, 20-26, 2009 I went to a training TrainEastFilm “Co-production in and with Eastern Europe” in Tbilisi, Georgia. This was another eye-opening study for me where I met a lot of filmmakers from the Black Sea region (Gerogia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Romania, Turkey, etc) (Certificate available plus I’m in good relations with organizers so can ask for a letter)

During 2009 I also took part in several Moving Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) from the Netherlands (www.mapa.nl) workshops such as “Studio Management – Working with Light” and etc. in Kyiv, Ukraine. This gave me understanding of actors’ perspective in performing arts, which is very important for a producer – to understand each and every part of creative work. (same here, Certificate available plus I’m in good relations with organizers so can ask for a letter)

Since 2009 I started visiting international co-production forums and film festivals in different countries like Germany, Russia, Armenia. Later – Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, etc. On these events and trainings I met many filmmakers and built a strong network of connections in Europe. I understood how “soft money” i.e. public funding in Europe works. So this knowledge I’m now bringing into the US.

In 2009 I also first met director Oleg Sentsov
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4883553/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Sentsov
when he first brought his Gaamer film still as just a script. He lived in Crimea, I lived in Kyiv so I couldn’t help him with shooting. But we decided to keep in touch.
Recently a new publication came out for which I gave interview http://krymsos.com/news/kak-sozdavalsya–gamer——pervyi-film-oleg-sentsova/

UMPP, UPS, EEFA and many other abbreviations of 2010

— In February, 2010 I took part in Berlinale Talent Campus. I was one of 3 Ukrainians selected to participate in this program in 2010, other two guys were creatives – a music composer and director. I was the only producer from Ukraine that year. Article about that on Deutche Welle http://www.dw.com/uk/українські-таланти-засвітилися-на-берлінале/a-5263287
About Berlinale Talent Campus: http://www.berlinale-talents.de Berlinale Talents is the annual summit and networking platform of the Berlin International Film Festival for 300 outstanding creatives from the fields of film and drama series.

— Also in 2010 I applied and was hired as an interpreter for Ukrainian Media Partnership Program. About UMPP https://www.irex.org/projects/ukraine-media-partnership-program-umpp
This was my first time to work for this project. I helped Odessa TV channel GRAD to exchange experience with a TV channel WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia
Later on – in 2012 – I again worked as an interpreter for that project – helping radio-station from Simferopol, Crimea to exchange experience with Mel Wheeler group (radio-stations called Q99, K92, Star Country) in Roanoke, Virginia (same town). I may find self-made publications about these visits and pictures.

— Thanks to Alumni Grants program of the US Embassy in Kyiv my NGO PIC launched a project called Appreciate Ukrainian.

The conceptual idea of this project, implemented in 2010, was to show that visiting countries, learning foreign languages and cultures, representing other countries at conferences teach youth to value and understand Ukrainian culture more.  The project will consist of the contest: Best Essay, short-stories on the topic “Studying Different Cultures as a Way to Appreciate Ukrainian Virtues” and Best screenplay “Studying Different Cultures as a Way to Appreciate Ukrainian Virtues”

Building on the experience from USG funded programs as well as continuous comments from participants of ONUMUN, the conceptual idea of this project is to show that visiting countries, learning foreign languages, representing other countries and cultures at conferences teaches youth to value Ukrainian language and culture more.

The project will consist of four main parts:
Essay, short-stories and screenplay contest for first and second year students from most Universities in Odessa
3 Publiс readings (corresponding to 3 nominations) of competing works (first round of selection)
Publication of selected works and shooting of short film by winning scenario. Distribution of publications and video to libraries, universities, ngos, media.

From that project I have pictures from final event and the little physical publication we printed out with all the essays

Now going back to my activities in FILM industry in 2010
One of my projects was selected to take part in EEFA Training in 2010. About East European Film Alliance: http://www.cineuropa.org/nw.aspx?t=newsdetail&l=en&did=195578
This was a program aimed to help develop film-projects, that consisted of several workshops throughout the year during film festivals (Golden Apricot festival in Yerevan, Armenia and Tallin Black Nights in Tallin, Estonia)

In Summer I got acquainted with a Director Andrew Bezludniy and we started working on his short film called Tapeur. It was his bold vision of Anton Chekhov’s short story. I raised money for the film and helped with securing locations and other things. The film has copyright of 2012 because it was finished only a year later because it took me long time to get professional sound-production company to agree to help us finish the sound of this film. Watch it: https://www.behance.net/gallery/22629207/Tapeur-short-fiction
Festivals & Awards of Tapeur: Prizes: 1) Koktebel International Youth Film festival: Diploma 2) Kinokimmeria IFF: Diploma for successful screen adaptation of Classics
Participation – 16 festivals: Odessa IFF, “10th Muse” (Kyiv), Youth Filmworld (Shahtersk, Ukraine), Art-Izo (Moscow, Russia), Cinema under stars (Kryviy Rig, Ukraine), International Film Festival of Short Films «KinoMig», “Dot in the Universe” FF, Vision FF, Saint Anna (Moscow, Russia), New Horizon (Voronezh, Russia), Radonezh (Moscow, Russia), KinoLikbez FF, Amateur+profi (Omsk, Russia), Free Art Festival “Your Beginning”, Kinolitopys FF, Mitrović Family Festival Scotland

Starting September 2010 I worked as an Editor for UPS (Ukrainian Production Studio). My main responsibilities at the beginning were to find scripts for TV films and work as script-superviser on sets of UPS series. Selecting scripts was a tough job because there are so many sources and so many scriptwriters willing to sell their materials. I had to read a lot and write so many negative replies.

Going deeper into media industry – 2011

Starting from 2011 my job responsibilities in UPS got wider. Now I was accompanying main boss to MIPTV and MIPCOM tv markets in Cannes, France every 6 month. At those markets my job was to find successful scripted series (formats) and get the rights to adapt them in Ukraine.

Around summer 2011 Oleg Sentsov got back to me and showed his semi-finished film Gaamer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2217809/?ref_=nm_flmg_prd_4
I didn’t like it from the very beginning, but promised to do what I can for the film. I’ve sent it to my French friend – producer Guillaume de Seille and he forwarded it to Berlinale. They didn’t select the film, but later on we pushed the film through to “Molodist” International Film Festival (Kyiv) and International Film Festival “2in1” in Moscow. However, the big premiere happened later – in January 2012 at Rotterdam International Film Festival.

In November 24-27, 2011 I went to seminar by Robert McKee in Moscow “Million Dollar Story” by his book “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting”

Harvest of 2012

In January 2012 we travelled with Oleg to Rotterdam to make International Premiere of Gaamer. It was a really big deal for us because Rotterdam IFF is known to be very competitive and very selective about art-house films. This festival is known for their taste to thought-provoking, very intimate intelligent films. After this premiere, world finally came to see that Gaamer film is actually interesting and Oleg Sentsov is actually talented. We felt like our train changed rails and increased speed from 10 to 100 mph. Now we started receiving numerous invites to festivals and even Ukrainian authorities started noticing us. We applied and received in 2012 two grants – one from “i3 grants” program of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and second – from Ukrainian State Cinema Agency.

Gaamer prizes
1. February, 2012 – 10 IDFF Spirit of Fire (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
FIPRESCI prize (Приз Гильдии кинокритиков и киноведов) Screenshot from proficinema.ru
2. May, 2012 – 3 Truskavets International Film Festival (Truskavets, Ukraine)
Best Feature film – screenshot from Delo.ua
3. June 2012 – Lubuskie Film Summer (Lagow, Poland)
Nagrodę Organizatorów im. Juliusza Burskiego http://www.llf.pl/poznaj-werdykt-jury-lubuskiego-lata-filmowego/- screenshot
4. July 2012 Odessa International Film Festival (Odessa, Ukraine) – screenshot
FIPRESCI Prize
Special Jury Mention
http://oiff.com.ua/ru/2012-festival/news/winner-of-the-ukrainian-national-competition.htm

Gaamer participation – 24 festivals –
2011 Kiev International Film Festival
2011 «2 in 1» International Film Festival Russia, Moscow
2012 IFF Rotterdam Netherlands
2012 IDFF Spirit of Fire Russia, Khanty-Mansiysk
2012 Фестиваль  «ВЕСЕННЯЯ ЭЙФОРИЯ – 2012» Russia, Moscow
2012 goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film Wiesbaden, Germany
2012 Трускавецкий международный фестиваль Ukraine
2012 15 Бердянский международный кинофестиваль Ukraine
2012  Lubuskie Film Summer Poland
2012 Golden Apricot IFF Armenia
2012 Одесский МКФ Ukraine
2012 Guanojuato IFF Mexico
2012 Sevastopol International FF Ukraine
2012 International Film Festival for Children and Young Audience Schlingel, Germany
2012 Sao Paolo IFF Brazil – nominated for Youth Award
2012 Listapadik Minsk, Belorussia
2012 CINEDAYS Festival of European Film Makedonia
2012 GIJÓN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Spain
2012 World FF of Bangkok Thailand
2012 Festival du Cinema Russe a Honfleur France
2012 Festival Cine//B_5. Chile
2012 Tbilisi IFF Gergia
2013 Pune IFF India
2013 Yashwant International Film Festival India

So on the way back from Rotterdam Oleg asked me – what’s the use of going to festivals and I said that usually directors use the hype of their first film to attract attention towards their next project. It didn’t take him long to say that he has an idea in this regard. He wrote the first draft of script of “Rhino,” (the title of the film does include coma at the end) during 3 months, which is very short time for a feature film script. And we started developing it.

With Rhino it didn’t take as long as Gaamer for people to recognize the potential of this new project and Rhino got awarded already as a project before the film was even started.
1. Best Project award in Second Films section at Sofia Mettings – pitching during Sofia International FF in Sofia, Bulgaria (screenshot and diploma)
2. Co-production prize of 6th Directors Across Borders Regional co-production forum in Yerevan, Armenia – (screenshot)
3. Best project of Ukrainian film at pitching during Odessa IFF (Ukraine)

The project won the contest for governmental financing through Ukrainian State Cinema Agency in 2012 http://sinua.dergkino.gov.ua/ua/film-ukrainian/show/298/nosorig.html (video of the presentation) Protocol of the contest available

During same year 2012 – I finished a short Vanja with director Oksana Artemenko. It went to many festivals and got 15 prizes. No sense to list them all here. There is a file Vanya – full list of prizes.pdf in the folder. The financing for the film came from USCA 100% after a competition in 2011. Protocol available

As already mentioned in 2012 I also made a TV film together with the director of Not Scared Kateryna Naumenko – it was called “Doch Bayanista” (daughter of Accordion Player). When I received a call from programming of KinoShok where this film was invited I was in complete shock because I never thought this could happen. There are hundreds of TV films made in Ukraine and Russia (just think about that each TV channel in Russia has a new premiere every weekend) and this festival’s program for TV films is just about 5-6 films, maybe 10. So I was really really flattered to be invited. And also – I could never hope to see this film on a big screen and during this festival – that’s exactly what they did. I even have a picture somewhere.

In 2012 I also worked as interpreter for UMPP once again – helped a radio-station from Crimea to exchange experience with a radio in Roanoke, Virginia.

2013 – a year of work-work-work

So at the beginning of 2013 financing was finally in place for my big project – family musical comeda Trubach (Trumpeter) (2014). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3438754/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_3

The competition for financing was won by my company back in 2011 but it took us over a year to make all the financial and documentary arrangements. I can find protocol of that competition to see the success rate if needed. Or we can do a letter with numbers of applications vs supported projects from Ukrainian State Cinema Agency or something like that.

I spent like 6 months in 2012 working on a contract with Ukrainian State Cinema Agency. The film was 100% financed by Ukrainian government through the Agency. The budget of the film was 16 million Ukrainian Hryvna (UAH), which at that point of time equaled 2 million US dollars because the exchange rate was 8 UAH per dollar. This was actually the most expensive project financed by the State of Ukraine ever.

The Director of the film was Anatoliy Mateshko – one of the most well-known directors in Ukraine. He is listed on IMDB too.

I hired staff for my company and creatives for film crew. The DOP of the film Yuriy Korol later worked for BITVA ZA SEVASTOPOL (2015) – another big Ukrainian film, so this DOP is also well-known in Ukraine. The composer (and music producer as well) for the film was Sergey Ryabtsev – a member of music group Gogol Bordello. Google will show that this music band is well-known and had even made a song+video with Madonna. Costume-designer for the film was Kristina Bobkova (bobkova.com.ua) – also a well-known person in Ukraine in fashion industry, she regularly shows new collections on Ukrainian Fashion Week.

After 6 months of preparation the crew gathered for shooting for 2 months. Then post-production started. The company, who was doing this job also does Ukrainian dubbing jobs for US majors, like Warner Brothers, FOX.
Sound-Designer for the film was Maksym Ponomarchuk, who was later doing sound for TRIBE (2014) – a film who won Critics Week Grand Prize in Cannes and many other prizes.

So generally speaking because this film was one of the first big films in Ukraine after long-long recession, it was kind cradle of Ukrainian film talents.

The actors in the film were
Aleksey Gorbunov http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0329812/
Nonna Grishaeva http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0342574/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Vladimir Goryanskiy http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0331412/?ref_=tt_cl_t2
All very very popular in Ukraine and Russia too.
There were a lot of children actors too, including one very talented girl Polina Tarasenko who plays 7 musical instruments and is already known in music industry.

The trailer of the film one can find under 2 links in youtube, one has 23k views (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZWQpVU65rg) , another one 11k views (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=712ddIdsafE )

Also in 2013 I took part in seminar by Linda Seger – acclaimed script consultant.

Later in 2013 during post-production of Trubach we made another film – a TV movie with Anatoliy Mateshko, called “Ty budesh moei” (also listed on IMDB)

Apart from Trubach I was also very busy with collecting financing for Rhino (a film project by Oleg Sentsov) through European co-producers. We had co-producers from Germany and Croatia. German regional fund “Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg” was willing to finance this film-project. This was first time in their history that they approved a film from Ukraine. Big deal. Croatian Audiovisual center was another fund to support us, also for the first time in their history. We signed co-production agreement and were ready to start shooting next year, but Euromaidan happened.

2014 – big turbulence in Ukraine, but Trubach made it through.

And Oleg Sentsov took active part in Ukrainian events of 2014, which changed his life dramatically.
Right before we wanted to start production of RHINO, following annexation of Crimea, Russian FSB arrested him – it was on May, 11th My child was about 13 days old when that happened and that’s when my maternity leave was over. Since then I’m in the center of campaigns around Oleg’s imprisonment and since August, 25 2015 – Oleg’s 20-years sentence for terrorism. Since August 2014 I’m also producing a documentary film RELEASE OLEG SENTSOV about all this situation. There are lots and lots of material about all this in the internet. Please advise me what’s best to include in the case.

Back to Trubach. At the beginning of the 2014 the film was ready for cinemas and we scheduled release for March, 27. The results of the promo-campaign you can see in the folder – there were a lot of publications, videos, etc. I also have pictures of ads around Kyiv if needed.

However, a week before premiere, people were shot on Maidan, so this really affected film’s attendance. Nevertheless, during first week, Trubach was 7th among all films released in the Ukraine that week, competing to Hollywood productions, and it stayed among the best 10 films for the second week too. We didn’t collect a lot of money in total in box office, but what we collected was no less than other Ukrainian films. And if one compares our box office to (for example) acclaimed TRIBE – it will be much more. (screenshots from box office statistics web-site available in the folder)

Later that year Ukrainian Oscar committee selected three films to be nominated from Ukraine to Oscar. The other two films nominated were TRIBE (2014) and GUIDE (2014). Publications about this available.

In June 2014 first International Children Film Fest was conducted in Ukraine and Trubach was awarded Bronze prize at that festival. (screenshot). Trubach also participated in 8 festivals – 2 in Germany, 3 in Russia and other in Ukraine the list is in the folder. The film opened Children’s program for Molodist IFF (the oldest in Ukraine) and screening was attended by Ukrainian President’s wife. Big deal? (screenshot of a publication)

Trubach Worldwide rights were sold to Canadian company 108 Media and they are planning its release on VOD pay per view services in US and Canada in October, followed by pitch to Netflix and other subscription VOD services. Contract available. We can organize a premiere in LA if this will help…
Actually Trubach is one of the few Ukrainian films whose WV rights were sold abroad.

Also later in 2014 I made a TV film, called Tabletka ot slez. As two other TV films I produced, this one was broadcasted on major Russian channel “Russia1” as well as major Ukrainian channel “Inter”. All of TV films I made gave good profits to Ukrainian Production Studio. And all of TV films had nice actors in them (not as popular as in Trumpeter, but still quite known) – so I can gather info about them too if needed. For example Doch Bayanista had well-known Russian actor Andrey Merzlikin http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1459463/
All TV-films are also available on YouTube and have quite some views
Doch Bayanista – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_c0JeBYOxY – 55k views
Ty budesh moey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFAYlVoohlQ – 3,8 million
Tabletka ot slez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcl7eV-6k50 – 1,1 million

In November I was invited to a festival in Cottbus, Germany to work as a jury member for Dialogue prize. (screenshot)

VIDVERTI. Starting from my first short Not Scared in 2009 I took a job of sending shorts to festivals. These were my films at first (Not Scared (1 prize), Switchman, Tapeur (1prize Koktebel kinofest, kinokimmeria ЗА ВДАЛУ ЕКРАНІЗАЦІЮ КЛАСИКУ)) then my friends’ film were added because I felt this was important (The letter, Lovestory, Mama (4 prizes: 1) Koktebel kinofest, 2) Diploma @ Kinokimmeria ЗА УВАГУ ДО ТЕМИ САМОТНОСТІ СТАРШОГО ПОКОЛІННЯ) 3) занял ГРАН-ПРИ в номинации “Режиссеры XXI века” на XVII Всероссийском фестивале визуальных искусств, который прошел во Всероссийском детском центре “Орленок”, 4) Programmers choice – da Vinci Film Festival Save and Keep).

Over 2010-2012 I was offering a service of short-film-festival-promotion, but generally shots’ owners were not able to pay so I was doing this for young directors just because I felt it was very important to let the festivals across the world know that Ukrainian films exist and there are young talented Ukrainian directors (Svoyaki ( prize KinokimmeriaЗА КІНЕМАТОГРАФІЧНЕ ВИСВІТЛЕННЯ ТРАГІЧНИХ НАСЛІДКІВ ЛЮДСЬКОЇ НЕПОМІРКОВАНОСТІ), TSS, Timka). Plus, I had assistants do it for my own films anyways and it didn’t matter much if we added one-two more films. But I gathered really a lot of experience (and connections) on promoting shorts of young directors and have always wanted to put this experience to general use. I even published first DVD with Ukrainian shorts on my own (film on DVD – ). So when the opportunity of i3grants from Rinat Akhmetov Foundation came, I invented a project called VIDVERTI (means “sincere” in Ukrainian). Project was supported by several Ukrainian and international festivals. And I can do more if needed
It was financed by this foundation in 2014 among the few in film industry. I can find out the success rate if needed.

It didn’t work out 100% as it was planned but we did one DVD with Ukrainian shorts (films on DVD – Banana Kick, Vanya, The Boots, Yellow flower, Is it Love?, TSS, 2012), two successful educational seminars and a great web-site. I might have video from the first seminar as well as photos and maybe publications if needed? It is currently offline, but honestly I really want to revive this project as a company for young filmmakers worldwide to offer festival-submission and promotion services. I can make this web-site back online anytime and if it will help greencard – fabulous.

http://snimifilm.com/post/ukrainskii-proekt-vidverti
http://snimifilm.com/post/seminar-festivalnoe-prodvizhenie-filmov-kak-kuda-i-glavnoe-zachem-podatsya-molodym-filmmeikeram
http://snimifilm.com/event/seminar-chego-khotyat-festivali
http://artmisto.com/newscinema/13148-v-ukrayin-vdkrivayetsya-proekt-vidverticom.html

Another project where my NGO PIC was involved in 2014 was called Indie Lab and it was financed by US Embassy in Kyiv. It was series of practical master classes on documentary filmmaking for young Ukrainian filmmakers. What info/docs needed about this?

Recent stuff (2015)

In 2015 I participated as only representative of Ukraine in Romania
http://aarc.ro/articol/ffe-2015-productia-si-co-productia-de-film-in-europa (video) It was European Film Festival in Bucharest and it had focus on co-production between Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. I have an invitation letter from them in Romanian

Shorts International. As continuation of my desire to promote young Ukrainian films and directors and as a result of 4 years of negotiations this year I signed a contract with a UK TV channel that broadcasts shorts all over the world. According to that contract I’m the “leading” content-provider for them for Russian-speaking region (meaning exclusive provider unless they find and invite films themselves).

Upcoming project: The Porcupine – a film-project by Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic based on the book by Julian Barnes. In 2013 my company participated in competition of Ukrainian State Cinema Agency for partial financing of this film and won. Protocol available This is a project, where Ukraine is 5th or 6th co-production country after Serbia, Croatia, UK, Slovenia and others. Srdjan is well-known award-winning director. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0236729/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Actually all of my bigger award-winning projects were financed by USCA starting from Vanya (100%), then Trubach (100%), Gaamer (25%), Rhino (50%) and now Porcupine (10%) over 2011-2013. And financing wasn’t just for anybody, projects had to go through selection. Each competition (every 6 months) I had a winning project I think.

Memberships: Over 1 year I was a member of EDN (European Documentary Network).
I’m now considering bying a memebership in Women in Film network, if it helps.
I can try to get into other memberships, but we need to decide which ones
And I can join film union of Ukraine if needed too. Would joining Producer’s Guild of America help? I can try to see if I can become a member if it will help.

Olga Zhurzhenko

Olga Zhurzhenko

After getting a degree in psychology, countless internships and traveling abroad, many years of developing projects in the civil sector, several years of working at international corporations… in winter 2008 on the highway nearby Kyiv, Olga's car fell into the ditch, did a flip and was put back on its wheels. Olga stayed alive, not having any injuries, but now having no peace.

In 2007 Olga got accepted into the Karpenko Karyi University, where she filmed her first short film "Not Scared" (2009) with the director Kateryna Naumenko. Some time after that the «Switchman» (2010) was released with Serhiy Silyava. Then, along with the director Andriy Bezlyudnyi, the screen adaptation for the "Taper" by Chekhov was filmed (2011). All the short films from the student times had been presented on countless Ukrainian and international movie festivals.

In 2009 Olga visited the finance forum for the audiovisual sector entrepreneurs in Luxembourg (EAVE), and the “TrainEastFilm” training in Tbilisi, and also took part in the workshops of the MAPA in the Netherlands. This is when Olga got acquainted with Robert Nilson, a director from San Francisco (the documentary WHAT HAPPENED HERE? was created with him later on) and the director from Simferopol Oleg Sentsov (who presented the script for his first feature film «Gaamer»). Since the Olga started visiting countless forums and films festivals all over Europe, where she built a strong network with various film industry professionals. In Summer 2011 she started working with Oleg Sentsov and "Kray Kinema" company, which resulted in the “Rhino” project being developed, which got prizes on the film-project competitions in Sofia, Yerevan and Odessa, and the "Gaamer" project, that received various awards on the festivals. In 2012 along with the director Oksana Artemenko short film "Vanya" was filmed, which received at least 15 awards and also the movie "Daughter of the Bayanist" with director Kateryna Naumenko was released. This is when the "Ukrkino" film production company was founded. Same year Olga started working on the first big project – the family musical comedy of Anatoliy Mateshko «Trubach» (2014). The movie was financed by the Ukrainian State Film Agency and was one of the first big movies made in Ukraine after a long stagnation. the movie was released in the theaters all over Ukraine, and also was presented on 8 festivals, receiving bronze on the International festival of movies for Children in Ukraine.

In 2013-2015 on the request of UPS company two TV movies were developed “You will be mine” and “A pill against tears”

From 2015 till 2018 Olga was working in California, where she became a member of the Producers Guild of America and took part in the promo campaigns of the Ukrainian movies nominated for Oscar. After returning to Ukraine in 2018 Olga worked on a couple of projects, including the Oscar Campaign for the movie "Donbass" in Los Angeles along with "Arthouse Traffic", when the American magazines wrote about a Ukrainian movie for the first time.

Olga is also a member of the American organization Women in Film and Ukrainian and European Film-Academies.

IMDB LINK