The 6th Odessa International Film Festival announces its winners

18 July, the 6th Odessa International Film Festival culminated with a beautiful closing ceremony, where the winners were announced.

The grand Prix of the OIFF, determined by audience voting, went to Turkish film Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, while Darren Aronofsky was awarded with the Golden Duke for Lifetime Achievement.
The ceremony was opened by fantastic performance of Ukraine's electronic miracle ONUKA, presenting Ukrainian music traditions wrapped in the modern electronic sound. And then the first prize of the evening was awarded. American director Darren Aronofsky – a special guest of the OIFF-2015 – walked out to the stage to a storm of applause to receive the honorary Golden Duke for Lifetime Achievement. The award was presented by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, a director of the most award-winning Ukrainian film The Tribe.
'To get an award like this from the director I deeply respect is a great honour, Darren Aronofsly said. 'It's a little strange to get a Lifetime Achievement Award when I feel not that old. But now that I have it I can retire and make no more films. So, I am going to move to Odessa, get a house on the beach and just have a party for the next 40 years. You have an amazing and a beautiful city of Odessa, and an amazing country, and I am happy to have Ukrainian roots'. Aronofsky also said he was very proud to be in Odessa, since it had been his dream to see famous Potemkin Steps.
Prior to presenting the Best Feature Film of the National Competition, the Jury of the National Competition Program expressed their support to the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, illegally kept by Russian authorities for more than a year on false terrorism charges. The audience responded with long standing applause. 'Mr. Putin, free Sentsov now', Polish director and producer Dariusz Jabłoński addressed Russian president from the stage later that evening. During the festival Odessa activists also reminded about illegal detention of Oleg Sentsov by holding a rally.
This year, Ukrainian film Song of Songs directed by Eva Neymann was a triumphator, winning the Best film of the National Competition and the Jury's Grand Prix of the International Competition.
However, it was another film that won viewers' hearts. Turkish Mustang, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, gained Grand Prix of the 6th Odessa International Film Festival for the Best Film, determined by audience voting.
'Ukraine is a place that could be a bridge between East and West, a place, where everybody can feel like home', Marco Mueller, a former director of the film festivals in Locarno, Rotterdam, Rome and Venice, said during the closing ceremony. He also emphasized that the fact Turkish Mustang had won the Grand Prix only proved his statement.
The President of the Festival Viktoriya Tigipko stressed that there were a lot of women among the winners: 'It is a great pleasure to realize that all the main winners of the 6th Odessa International Film Festival are women. Moreover, two female directors received two awards each.'
'This year OIFF audience reached 120,000 visits, which is 15,000 visits more than the last year. I believe it is a positive sign that here, in Ukraine, peace is taking over and the great future awaits for us', Viktoriya added. She also said that the Jury of the Festival had particularly noted the drive and energy of Ukrainian cinematography.
The closing film of the 6th Odessa International Film Festival was Sweet Red Bean Paste, Un Certain Regard opener at Cannes 2015, by Japanese director Naomi Kawase. Kirin Kiki, a recognized Japanese film and TV actress who played a lead part in the movie, and Durian Sukegawa, film's script writer, presented the film. One could have hardly chosen a better film to finalise a 9-day cinema marathon. The touching story of an old woman with leprosy trying to fit into the society and managing to find some true friends summarised the brilliant programme of the festival and reminded the real meaning of the modern cinematography – to make people look deep inside of their souls and hearts.
Kirin Kiki expressed gratitude for the invitation to the festival, saying she was really happy in Odessa.
The 6th Odessa International Film Festival is now officially closed leaving lots of unique impressions, including, among others, grand open-air screening of Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera, accompanied by Michael Nyman's life performance; kayak protest with Darren Aronofsky; awarding of the Potemkin Steps with a special Treasure of European Film Culture emblem and screening of Lumière's 98 restored films, moderated by Thierry Frémaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival and the Institut Lumière.
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And now Odessa set sails to the 7th International Film Festival to be held 15 July-23 July 23 2016. Follow the official Facebook page of the Festival to get the latest updates.
The list of award winners 2015 can be found here.

Aleksandra Demskaya EMPR, photos by the OIFF. 


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