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ODESA-BERLIN

fiction feature film


Stuck in a writing block, Berlin writer Katrin (Kat) goes to the Odesa Film Festival to attend the premiere of her first novel’s adaptation. Kat hopes this journey will help her rediscover her inspiration and recover from depression. During the festival, Kat meets Pavlo Reznyk, a Ukrainian director. Kat allows herself to have an affair, so she can spend a few fun days with Pavlo and travel across Ukraine with his project. In his documentary, Pavlo depicts the life of Ukrainian Jews. As his parents stubbornly keep silent about their families' stories during the disaster, Pavlo hopes that stories and testimonies of other Jews will help him piece together his own family history.


Kat also learns a lot about Ukraine and its history during her trip to the east of the country. She begins to feel her connection with Ukraine, and it inspires her greatly. Only later will she learn how deep and terrible this connection truly is. A short trip expands into a three-month journey, and cooperation grows into true love. Kat's situation seems perfect. But suddenly, her grandmother dies and Kat has to return to Germany immediately. As Kat and her mother write the eulogy, it comes to light that Kat knows very little about her grandmother. Looking through old documents and belongings of her grandmother, Kat is horrified as she realizes that, according to the papers, her grandmother worked as a supervisor in the Odesa Jewish ghetto.


Kat realizes that her family concealing her grandmother's dark past will bear far-reaching consequences for her and will surely affect her relationship with Pavlo. When Kat tells her mother about the discovery, she doesn't want to listen and accuses Kat of being too nosy. She says that whatever happened, it doesn't concern them at all. Kat returns to Pavlo, who by that time has run out of money for his film project. He decides to stay with his parents in Odesa for a while and takes Kat with him. One day, for research purposes, Pavlo goes to the attic and fetches an old jacket of his grandfather Ruvym, who was a prisoner of the Odesa ghetto as a child and miraculously survived. Kat catches her breath, she can't believe her eyes. This jacket is part of a female German military uniform marked Borchert, her grandmother's maiden name. Kat keeps her discovery quiet, but wants to know more about the jacket and offers to interview grandfather Ruvym for the project. Pavlo does not want to force his grandfather to remember those times again.


On February 24, 2022, Russia attacks Ukraine. This is war. Most Ukrainian cities fall under massive shelling. Pavlo and Ruvym immediately travel to the Polish border, where Kat is already waiting for them. However, upon arrival at the border, Pavlo must stay in Ukraine and fight for his country. Accidentally entering late Sigrid's room, Ruvym finds a photo of young Sigrid and tells Kat what he found. Pavlo shortly travels to Germany for his military training and visits Kat. They reconnect and spend the night together. The next morning, Pavlo gets up early and works on the beginning of his new script, making them both screenwriters. Pavlo hands Kat the memory cards with his videos. Together, they will work on editing their film. He is from Ukraine, she is from Germany. Before his return to Ukraine, Pavlo convinces Kat to visit Karola. It's time for Kat to get to know her family, all over again. As a result, Pavlo shoots new documentary footage: Kat and Karola in dialogue. They discuss, laugh, cry, fight, and hug.

Two years pass. August 2024, the Odesa Film Festival, a darkened auditorium, the final credits roll on the screen. They are also the credits of our film Odesa-Berlin. The last dedication reads: "With gratitude to all who sacrifice themselves against oblivion."

The credits mention the names of cinematographers and journalists who have already died in the war.

 

PROJECT TEAM

PAVLO ARIE, scriptwriter

Modern Ukrainian playwright, screenwriter, director, and translator. Born in Lviv. Lives in Kyiv and Cologne (Germany). Member of the Ukrainian Film Academy. Since April 2019, Chief Playwright of the Kyiv Academic Theater of Drama and Comedy on the left bank of the Dnipro.

The author of multiple plays and film scripts. His plays have been translated into ten languages, published numerous times in collections as well as separate editions, and staged in many theaters across Ukraine and Europe. Based on his scripts, films and TV series were made. Pavlo Arie’s plays were recognized by various institutions and festivals, including the Plays From Europe Biennale (Germany) in 2010, Drama.UA, Kurbalesia (Ukraine), the Berlin Theatertreffen (Germany), and others.

Received the Grand Prix at a number of dramatic and literary competitions and festivals, including Coronation of the Word (Ukraine).

Awarded for Best Foreign Play of at Le Prix Les Journées 2017 De Lyon Des Auteurs De Théâtre (France); for Best Screenplay at Fantaspoa International Film Festival (Brazil) in 2019.

He participated in the international project of the Royal Court Theater in London together with the British Council Ukraine.

Since 2011, he has been the curator and co-founder of the drama program of international art


VALERII KALMYKOV, producer

Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics.

In 2013, he founded the film company Truman Production in Odesa. Member of the Ukrainian Film Academy.

Producer’s filmography:


2023: Expedition 49, documentary, dir. Alisa Kovalenko

2022: Roman’s Talismans, documentary series, dir. Danylo Sirykh

2018: Lisa's Story, dir. Oleksandr Zhovna

2018: Gogol Doc, documentary, dir. Alisa Pavlovska

2017: The Fifth Therapy, dir. Alisa Pavlovska

2014: My Mermaid, My Lorelei, dir. Nana Jorjadze




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