Kyiv not only exports its talent in the filmmaking industry to Russia and western countries, but is also beginning to nurture its own future in film. Famous American academic film experts are currently giving lectures in directing, screenplay, acting, filming, editing and producing at the only Hollywood school in a CIS country. Ukrainians, Russians, Bulgarians, Poles and even Moroccans are students of the school, which opened in the fall of 2005. Its founders are confident that its graduates will soon be in high demand in a number of Ukrainian-American film projects. The students feel that learning at this school serves as an impulse to growth.
“Thanks to the American filmmaking industry we know perfectly well how the landscapes of San Francisco look and are oriented towards hospital wards in Emergency Room, but little do people in the world know how beautiful Kyiv is and what kind of a city it is,” says General Director of Alliance Shatro Olena Voloshyna, a producing company and founder of the school. She added, “I think that Ukrainian films will soon be promoting the image of Kyiv and I hope this project will help us to do that.”
Mark W. Travis, Dean of the Hollywood School in Ukraine, taught Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Bill Pullman, Holland Taylor, Mark Rydell and John Bailey. Travis, a director, actor, playwright and screenplay writer, has already given two courses of directing at the school in Kyiv.
Richard Krevolin trained more than 20,000 script writers in Los Angeles and all around the world. Krevolin is a teacher of scriptwriting at the USC Cinema and Television school, where George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis and Ron Howard attended classes.
Barry Primus will teach Kyiv students acting techniques. He is a famous scriptwriter, director, producer and actor, who for almost 40 years has worked in the U.S. television and film industry. Primus played in more than 50 films and numerous TV shows, including such films by Martin Scorsese as Boxcar Bertha and New York, New York, in Sydney Pollack’s Absence of Malice and in Irwin Winkler’s Night and the City.
He was the screenwriter and director of Mistress starring Robert De Niro.
Larry Kostroff will give lectures on the secrets of a producer’s profession at the end of June. He is a skillful and experienced teacher, who worked as an Executive Production Manager at Metro-Goldwyn -Mayer/United Artists and is Vice President of Production at HBO/Silver Screen.
The founders of the school note that the same 10 courses which cost US $1,000 in Poland go for US $300-500 in Ukraine.
Voloshyna, the founder of the Hollywood school, told KW that they are in the process of setting up an agency offering the services of school students to different film companies. Joint Ukrainian-American projects are expected to begin in the nearest future. Voloshyna says the possibility of setting up a subdivision that will engage in joint Ukrainian-American film is currently being discussed. By the way, she mentioned that the first experience of cooperation with Ukraine was when Ukrainian camera cranes were used in the filming of Titanic.
Petro Slisarenko, a scriptwriter and founder of the Hollywood School in Ukraine:
“Nowadays films are shot rarely in Ukraine but soon the time will come the film industry is revived. The problem of personnel is a problem in any Ukrainian company, whether it produces films or makes mineral water. We can find money to shoot a film, build a shooting site and bring super cameras from abroad, but who will create the masterpiece? In this school one can learn a lot.”