Tragedy, Ukrainian Cinematography Will Be Defunded

Under Poroshenko, government money was thrown at commercially unsuccessful films, and now the party is coming to an end…

Mykola Kniazhytskyi, Member of Parliament from Poroshenko’s party, now called “European Solidarity” wrote on his Facebook page:

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Today, at the meeting of the Committee for the Questions of Humanitarian and Information Policy, the politicians of the “Servant of the People” (Zelensky’s party) have voted to remove from the list of subjects that receive government support in the form of reimbursement of qualified expenses of Ukrainians. The state should in their opinion support foreign rather than Ukrainian producers. This evidently is against the Constitution, logic, international practice and the sentiment of the public. I am thankful to those that have not voted for such an anti-Ukrainian decision, and to those members of the ruling party that have voted for this absurdum but in their public appearances are questioning its validity. The danger of having a single majority is in that permissiveness shrouds sober thinking and can lead to numerous errors. Until they understand this, we will argue and prompt them politely.

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The issue here is not so much that the new powers that be in Ukraine will defund but that the Ukrainian government pisses away millions of hryvnias for films that never made the money back. And this would not be the worst, Ukraine is a poor place and the people cannot afford to go to cinema very often, so the box office may not be successful with every film. The film performs a propaganda service, and should help promote the Ukrainian language in theory. But the question is whether the Ukrainian films are doing exactly this?

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Above are the box offices of Ukrainian films last year. In red, the numbers indicate government support for the film. Let me quote some:

Codename “Banderas” is a film about the Donbass war, I call it “Pozyvnoy Pidoras”

It had a budget of 39.3 million HRN ($1.25 million USD), out of which 19,6 million HRN came from the government. It made 1,9 million HRN.

I was interested how much a ticket to see such a masterpiece costs in Kiev, and found out that it is 60 HRN.  If you divide 1 900 000/60 = 31 666,6667. Basically, hardly anyone saw this shit.

Secret Diary of Symon Petlyura is a historical film about a Ukrainian separatist leader in the early twentieth century.

It had a budget of 47.2 million HRN ($1.5 million USD) and it gained only 1.1 million HRN in the box office. If you do the math, you will notice that almost nobody went to see this.

I personally hold a history degree and was never a fan of historical dramas, I also understand that people may be reluctant to see films about a war in a country where a simmering conflict is still raging. But it is not true that films cannot be commercially successful in Ukraine.

Spoiled Wedding (going as Crazy Wedding) is a comedy where a Ukrainian girl studying in France falls in love with a Frenchman but there is an issue… he is black.

Funny though but not very original, can be watched here with subtitles. It had a budget 10.8 million HRN, that is much less than the other two films named, out of which 1.1 million came from the state, and it made 46 million HRN in the box office.

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