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Ukrainian National Film Critics Circle Host Award Show in Underground Bunker

The fifth edition of the annual award show came just days after a Russian airstrike in Kyiv.

"Pamfir"

“Pamfir”

Courtesy of Kinokolo

Just two days after a Russian airstrike in Kyiv killed three citizens, damaged a power plant, and caused significant blackouts, the Ukrainian National Film Critics Circle went ahead with their annual award ceremony.

Known as Kinokolo, the ceremony took place in an underground bunker in Kyiv on Thursday, with national broadcaster Suspilne Kultura airing the event live. First established in 2018, Kinokolo recognizes the best in national Ukrainian cinema, and is hosted on the first day of the annual Kyiv Critic’s Week. This year’s Critic Week runs until October 26.

“Pamfir,” which premiered this year in Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight section, was the big winner of the night, taking the best feature prize. Director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk, who made his feature film debut with the drama about a man who returns to his small town and is sucked back into his criminal past, nabbed best director, best film screenplay, and discovery of the year awards at the ceremony. Oleksandr Yatsentyuk, who plays the film’s title character, won Kinokolo’s best actor award.

Other winning films included Natalka Vorozhbyt’s “Are you Ok?,” which took the best short film award; Maryna Stepanska and Anna Dudko’s “Wir, Europa,” which won best animated film; and Oleksii Radinsky’s “Infinity: According to Florian,” a portrait of Kyiv architect Florian Yuriev, which took the best doc prize. Oksana Cherkashina won her second best actress Kinokolo for “Klondike,” director Maryna Er Gorbach’s timely film about a pregnant woman living on the border between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, when the tensions that led to this year’s invasion first began. The film premiered at Sundance in January, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Competition award for direction.

“Klondike” has been submitted as Ukraine’s entry into this year’s International Feature Film category at the Oscars.

In addition to the main awards, Kinokolo also presented a special achievement prize to film archivists Stanislav Bytiutskyi, Alyona Penziy, and Oleksandr Teliuk for “Strange Whimsical, Fantastic,” a screening cycle of rare Ukrainian films that ran this year at the Dovzhenko Centre state film archive.

The ceremony also gave special honors to Mantas Kvedaravičius, a Lithuanian director captured and killed by Russian forces this year while filming his feature “Mariupolis 2.” Footage he shot would later be smuggled out of the country, completed, and screened at Cannes.

Dmytro Kozatskyi, a Ukrainian photographer currently serving in the country’s national guard, also received honors for his work capturing footage of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel works facility before it was destroyed in the invasion, which would later be developed into a five-minute short film “Fortress Mariupol. The Last Day at Azovstal.”

Read the full list of Kinokolo winners below.

Best Feature Film
“Pamfir” – Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk (Ukraine/France/Poland/Chile/Luxembourg/Germany)

Best Short Fiction Film
“Are You Okay?” – Natalka Vorozhbyt (Ukraine)

Best Documentary
“Infinity: According to Florian” – Oleksii Radinsky (Ukraine)

Best Animated Film
“Wir, Europa” – Maryna Stepanska, Anna Dudko (Ukraine)

Discovery of the Year
“Pamfir” – Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk

Best Director
Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk – “Pamfir”

Best Actor
Oleksandr Yatsentyuk – “Pamfir”

Best Actress
Oksana Cherkashina – “Klondike”

Best Film Screenplay (Feature-length or Short Fiction)
Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk – “Pamfir”

Award for Achievement
Stanislav Bytiutskyi, Alyona Penziy, Oleksandr Teliuk – “Strange, Whimsical, Fantastic” (Ukraine)

Special Honours
Dmytro Kozatskyi
Mantas Kvedaravičius

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