Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival
short history of the festival written in 1998
The appearance of the Molodist film festival was planned to happen in 1962, when the Kyiv Institute of Theatrical Arts in the name of Karpenko-Kariy first introduced the department of Cinema Art. The natural attraction of young masters to the audience, the necessity for emotional impulse from the audience, and the necessity in conversation through the screen - all that made this great beginning successful and eternal. 

A festival that built on this sort of conception does not have any chance to become old. That is probably the reason of its name: "Molodist" means "youth" in Ukrainian. Only one short notice in the newspaper "Na Ekranah Ukrainy" from October 31, 1970, which announced the first festival, said: "...the first Republican Festival of Student Films "Molodist" took place in Kyiv during two days. 33 films were shown. The Jury with Mykola Maschenko as the Head determined the best student films, presented diplomas and prizes". 

Molodist was founded in 1970 and organized only because of the energetic nature of the director Mykola Maschenko and with the help of the initiative group from the Cinematographers Union of Ukraine. 

The first Grand Prix of the festival was given to the director V. Granin for the documentary "Big Trampline". For the last 28 years Molodist opens the way into life for many Ukrainian directors, directors of photography and actors. 

In 1972, diplomas for the best fiction films were given to Vilen Novak, "One Autumn Day", who is one of the best directors in Odessa now, and to Volodymyr Bortko, "Role", who is successfully picturing films on Lenfilm Studios: "Dog’s heart", "Afghan Mess". The next festival discovered Volodymyr Popkov, "Knight Vasya", who is one of the most popular Ukrainian directors now, and Alla Surikova, "Lzhynka", pictured in Kyiv (in the meantime Surikova became well known as a comedian critic), and in Russia as well. 

The same year of 1974, Russian films participated in the festival for the first time. They were from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography. The next year Karen Gevorkyan "Here, on the Crossroads" shared the prize for the best directing with Vadim Abdrashitov "Stop Potapov". Later Abdrashitov became one of the most unique Russian directors with "Fox Hunting", "Planets Parade", "A Play for The Passenger". Gevorkyan came to Kyiv to Olexander Dovzhenko Film Studios and pictured "A red Dog Running on the Seaside" based on the story of Tchingiz Aitmatov. 

In 1977 films from the Georgian Institute of Theatrical Art were presented at the festival for the first time. 

Many famous directors that are connected to the extreme growth and development of the Ukrainian documentaries at the end of 80’s, beginning of the 90’s, were honored at Molodist. Among them such famous directors as Andriy Zagdanskij - 1977 "Master", Serhij Bukovsky - 1985 "March", Olexander Rodniansky - 1988 "Tired Cities"

Kyiv saw the debuts of many directors from outside of Ukraine, who took their prizes abroad such as Aleksei Uchitel - 1978 "A Teacher", Konstantin Lopushansky - 1980 "Solo", Serhiy Snezhkin in 1985 with "Hey, On Lincorn", Alexander Rogozhkin, 1985 "In Honor of a Few Lines", Yuri Mamin, 1986 "Neptune's Celebration", Yevgeniy Tsymbal, 1988 "Sedov the Guard", Igor Alimpiev, 1988 "I Love You All. Dinara", Alexei Balabanov, 1991 "Happy Days". All of them have a great future in cinematography. 

Molodist welcomed Irakliy Kvirikadze - 1983 "Excursion", from Georgia, A. Berzhynis - 1985 "Baby Carriage for Mummy" from Lithuania, Yuri Podnieks - 1986 "Sizif is Rolling a Stone" from Latvia, Dzhahongir Fayzief - 1988 "Kyadya", 1989 "Siz Kim Siz?" from Uzbekistan... 

One of the most talented master of Ukrainian cinematography, actor Ivan Mykolaychuk was given the Grand Prix for his directors debut with "Babylon XX", 1979. 

In 1987 Molodist gave birth to the one, who later was called ‘the new wave’ of Kazakh cinema: Grand Prix - Serik Aprymov with "Two on a Bicycle". For Nadia Evtushenko, 1985 "Gayduk" from Moldova, and for Alexei Haritidi, 1994 - "Gagarin" forum in Kyiv became a first step on a ladder to Cannes "Palme d’or" for the best animated film. 

So at the end of the 80’s the festival was continuously changing into the international: all the best student films and debuts shown in USSR at that time were coming to Kyiv. Some student pictures from the European countries of the socialist block also found their way to Ukraine. Anyway Gorbachov’s liberalization of the society was quite noticeable here in Ukraine. Newly founded "Union of young Cinematographers of the Ukraine" with director of documentaries Mykhaylo Pavlov at the head, took upon "Molodist" giving it the name of the Open Ukrainian Festival

This period until Ukraine became an independent state in 1991, was characterized as a period when festival’s ideology was formed. It was a period of preparation to the next step to the international level. The constant staff and directorate of the festival were formed during this time. 

After the break in 1992, caused by the difficulties in financing the festival, it was opened the next year as a specialized "Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival" of student and debut films. The four categories in competition are still the same: 

    • debut student film,
    • debut full-length feature film,
    • debut short fiction film,
    • debut animation film or documentary (biannual).
With this status festival was officially registered by the Federation of International Associations of Film Producers (FIAPF) in 1995. 

Last year, at Molodist-97, films from more than 35 countries participated in the competition program, while information program presented retrospectives of different cinema schools and international festivals all over the world. Retrospectives of many famous masters of cinematography such as Sasha Vierni, Derek Djarman, Jerzy Kucia, Aki and Mika Kaurismaki, Chris. Marker were shown at the festival. Sasha Vierni and Chris. Marker came in person to present their films, and Marcel Martin, well-known film-critic, was presiding the International Jury in 1993. 

Therefore, Molodist of the 90’s opened many bright names of directors: Gordiann Maugg "Gregor. Two Souls in the Heart of Twins under the special influence of Leo" and "The Olympic Summer" from Germany, Jo Shoop "Wanted" and Spiro Kyriakou "Lark", "Dropping the Baby" from England, Mykola Kaptan "Sashko", Serhiy Masloboyschikov "The village doctor", "The different one", "Josephine the Singer and Mice People", Natalka Andriychenko "Weekend escape", "A night about Love", "Shamara" from Ukraine, etc. 

Nowadays, aside from its noted popularity in movie buff circles and among directors of shorts and debut features, the Kyiv Festival has grown to be the largest event of its kind in Eastern Europe, after the Karlovy-Vary and Moscow Festivals. It has successfully shrugged off its Soviet past and attained full status on the international scene. With its screenings of approximately 215 films from more than 35 countries, its retrospectives and homages, its jampacked movie theaters and press conference rooms, its nationwide TV coverage and - last but not least - its cruise ship moored on the Dniepr where festival goers are lodged, the Molodist has become a date not to be missed for everyone who wants to know what tomorrow’s films will be about and who will be making them. Alain Berliner’s "Ma vie en Rose"(a franco-belgium co-production) was winner of the best film of Molodist-97, and in 1996, the Grand Prix "The Scythian Deer" was given to the full-length feature film "Thirty Five Aside" by Damian O’Donnell from Ireland.

Read also the article dedicated to Cannes Film Festival 1998
(Ukrainian, Windows encoding)

Back to the MOLODIST home page

MOLODIST Web Site is produced by Sergey Datsuk (Ukraine) & Dmitriy Krakovich (USA)

Designed, hosted & promoted by Dmitriy Krakovich's Media