The 39th Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival has wrapped with the audience selecting Family Portrait in Black and White as the Favorite Feature film recipient. Producer Boris Ivanov was able to attend the screening and to share the updates on the family. In the end, all agree that no matter what Olga is like sometimes, she is doing more for these children than anyone else is prepared to do in the current Ukrainian society.
Received great news today that Family Portrait in Black and White is a Jury Award Winner at the film festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We, the producers of the film, were always interested to know how will this documentary be received in Africa. Even though Family Portrait in Black and White takes place in Ukraine, 5,ooo km away, its narrative and the children’s stories are very much connected to modern Africa. I think this jury prize confirms our belief that this film successfully shows the interconnectedness of the world we live in and the well-being of these bi-racial orphans in Ukraine matters across continents.
After traveling all over the world, adjusting to time zones and collecting many airmiles we have returned to our hometown of Vancouver to present award winning Family Portrait in Black and White at Denman Cinema, 1737 Comox Street, Vancouver from May 11-17th at 4:00pm daily.
And to celebrate our mothers and Olga Nenya, the star of the film, we will be doing a special Mother’s Day presentation on Sunday, May 13th at 4:00pm. Julia Ivanova, the director of the film, will be present to share her thoughts on motherhood, dissecting the ultimate Soviet matriarch who has dedicated her life to fostering Ukrainian orphans.
More great news from Spain (Canary Islands to be exact). Family Portrait in Black and White wins an Audience Award as the most popular film of the MiradasDoc Film Festival. Not only did the director Julia Ivanova got to spend four days in one of the most breathtaking places on earth but also got to come home with a 3kg weighing statue.
Lesson learned once again, we should all learn Spanish. Concurrent MiradasDoc Market was very lively with much of Spanish and some international industry represented. Unfortunately, we were mistakenly listed in the Experimental section of the Market catalog so there won’t be much follow up from that.
Julia reports a nice tan and great spirits leading us to Best of Fests Showcase at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA 2011).
We’ve returned from Spain with not one but two awards in our very heavy suitcases filled with Spanish made shoes. Family Portrait in Black and White won AECID Cultural Diversity Award as well as Time of History Third Prize. Valladolid International Film Festival (also known as Seminci) is so well organized, beautiful cinemas for the screenings, well publicized, basically the best it can be for a filmmaker. Special event at Yllera Winery was such a treat even though we were served local delicacy (grilled baby lamb) which I had to decline. The city itself is very beautiful full of churches, squares and plenty of tapas restaurants serving local wine at €1.50 per glass. We had an amazing time. Hope to be back with our next film.
Second year in a row we’ve been fortunate enough to have a film screen at this excellent film festival, and in our home town. All three screenings went off without a hitch though I was introduced as director’s brother at one of them. I am Julia’s brother but I also spent three years of my life trying to put the film together and was involved in every facet of this production. I think a producer would’ve been more appropriate but who’s counting (… i am).
That said, excellent Q&A, great response and so many more people have now learned about black Ukrainians and of Olga’s efforts. Hoping to make it three years in a row with our next production High Five scheduled for completion in the summer.
PS: For the record, I did not cross the picket line for the opening party.
We are floored and elated to receive the Best Canadian Feature Award at the 2011 Hot Docs International Film Festival. As the jury put it, “The award for Best Canadian Feature goes to an intimate, poetic film that bravely confronts nuance and complexity in its characters and its world”. Five years of our lives, starting with an article in a Russian newspaper about Olga, culminated in this moment of absolute honour for both Julia and Boris.
We are further humbled to be chosen among all the competing features at this year’s festival. I have to say that Hot Docs is an amazing festival and presents films from every corner of the world. The international films that I watched like “Vodka Factory”, “Project Nim”, “Minka”, “Somewhere to Disappear” – all made me think and examine myself and how I relate to the world we live in. Hot Docs is a treasure and I hope will continue to prosper forever.
I also took part in the Hot Docs Forum and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone interested in making documentary films. The pitches this year were strong, interesting, and affecting. I really hope “A WHOLE LOTT MORE” gets made. Having main characters with disabilities is such a difficult sell in the current broadcasting world.
To finish up, here is a little excerpt from our acceptance speech Hot Docs Awards Ceremony
Arrived in Toronto today to get things started. Great pre-festival reviews so far. “An emotionally absorbing subject filled with layers of complexity” – Now Toronto; “Foster families are always complex subjects, but Julia Ivanova’s film about one such Ukrainian family is masterfully packed with more societal and psychological issues than any other film showing at HotDocs this year. Five Stars” – CritisizeThis.ca; “This film is one of the most complex pieces of filmmaking I have seen in years.” – Andrew Parker’s pics for Dorkshelf; “Ivanova’s graceful cinematography gives viewers a unique perspective.” – Torontoist.
Canadian premiere is May 2nd and is sold out. It’s now up to the audience. Will update shortly.
Family Portrait in Black and White had its World Premiere on January 23rd, 2010 in the sunny Park City, Utah. The Festival was amazing and thanks to Telefilm’s new film festival marketing program Julia Ivanova (aka the Director) and Boris Ivanov (aka the Producer) were able to attend. The highlights of the festival were a). All the cool, happening filmmakers in attendance; b). Julia meeting Robert Redford and feeling inspired by his speech; c) Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell putting their star power behind documentary films on OWN; d) Two audience members feeling inspired to create a scholarship for Kiril (hope they follow through).
The only negative to mention is HBO hiring someone to promote Reagan and Bobby Fischer by plastering over other people’s posters on the hour, every hour. That was unnecessary and mean.
The programming team at Sundance is an amazingly friendly group of people. We hope in the future we’ll be able to make as good of a film as Family Portrait in Black and White to come to Sundance again.