Interview with Festival Directors Maria Kryvoshchokova & Anna Demianenko (Marhanets International Short Film Festival)

Marhanets International Short Film Festival is the very first film festival created in a small mining city Marhanets which aims to bring film culture to the city and inspire and motivate filmmaking in the region. The festival was founded by daughter and mother Anna Demianenko and Maria Kryvoshchokova, with the aim of helping smaller cities of Ukraine to develop film in their region.




 Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: Marhanets Film Festival is created to promote Ukrainian and International short films, filmmakers and actors. Our festivals gives opportunity to attract as many cinephiles as possible and lets directors to screen their films to much more viewers getting important feedback.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

Anna Demianenko: The 2017 edition of Marhanets Film Festival which was held on 6-7 of May was very successful. Therefore we have started getting ready for 2018 edition just after the Award ceremony finished! Every person who will attend our festival will be welcomed by wonderful competition short films from all over the world that inspire, motivate, show new opportunities and solutions. Filmmakers will also be able to take part in workshops and meet young Ukrainian directors.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: We are looking for new and original films showing a unique director’s vision, camera work, acting, sound design. We opt for a strong and genuine story that will capture viewer’s attention from the very beginning and will never let go. We want to see the films that motivate and give people a chance to develop and make themselves better. This year we have decided to expand our maximum running time to 30 minutes as we have discovered that there are many good stories which surpass the time limit we had for submissions last year.

Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

Anna Demianenko: I do believe it is true, as there so many films are send to the festivals each year and this great quantity makes it impossible for some selectioners to watch all the films. That is what really important for our festival, no matter how many submissions are sent, we are watching every single one of them, as sometimes the treasures are hidden and only if you are willing to search, that is when you will be rewarded. For example, 2017 Best Short Film Apparition by Denis Dobrovoda (France) was one of the last ones to be watched during the selection process.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: I would say the passion for a good film and opportunity to discover which topics excite, thrill or worry the directors from all over the world. The filmmakers are given a chance to communicate with the audience through their films and the viewers can discuss the films and speak their mind as well. The second and most important motivation is a team work. Our festival team is undeniably helpful and very friendly, people keep joining our team realizing what a wonderful mission our festival entails. We are grateful to every person who was supporting us on our way to creating an incredible event.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Anna Demianenko: We are happy that this year we have much more filmmakers interested in our festival! As it is the second edition we are hoping to receive as many submissions as possible, so that we can show to the festival guests the most quality content. We have a thorough selection process, first the selection committee chooses the best films from submitted, then an expert committee which consists of famous Ukrainian film critics, filmmakers, actors chooses the one that will take part in competition. Members of the expert committee have very different opinions and viewpoints, therefore various films are accepted to the competition.

We are welcome every filmmaker to submit his/her short film following this link!
Be the one to be chosen into Marhanets Film Festival Competition!

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: We hope to enlarge the festival by making more competition programs and conducting more workshops. One of our aims is to make screenings not only of best Ukrainian short films of the year, but films of other countries as well. We are searching for cooperation with other festivals so that we can exchange experiences and screen the films in out-of-competition programs. By all means, we are expecting for more visitors from all over the world and more viewers to come and experience our remarkable event.

What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Anna Demianenko: I personally watch films every single day of different countries and year of production. I guess my favourite features are directed by Paolo Sorrentino, I found his films Youth and The Great Beauty as a great contemplation and admiration of life in its true existence. Those films aspire me to search for greatness in every moment of our life. Regarding short films, I watch them every day, I am currently a Programmer for two Dutch film festivals Shift Film Festival and Euregion Film Festival, and it gives me opportunity to watch completely different films. My favourite short film by far is Everything Will Be Ok by Patrick Vollrath. I hope to see more of such films at our festival.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: The one that makes you talk about it and leaves nobody cold.

How is the film scene in your city?

Anna Demianenko: Marhanets Film Festival is actually a huge and incredible event for our small city. Sadly, Ukrainian film business is mostly focused in big cities, and inhabitants of small ones are usually left out. That was our initial aim: to bring cinema back to small cities, make it real and in demand. We do believe that with this festival we can bring big films to small cities no matter where it is a short or a feature. So we welcome everyone to submit their films and to visit our festival in May 2018! Be the one to develop film in small regions!



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed

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