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Friday, November 23, 2007

Ukraine becoming Hollywood East?

The Kyiv Post reports that Hollywood has discovered Ukraine is a good place to work in.

American screenwriter Billy Frolick, whose biggest project so far was the script for the acclaimed cartoon “Madagascar,” is having the next animation based on his screenplay made in Ukraine.

... [T]he music for the film will be written by Ukrainian composers and the background symphonic parts will be recorded in Kyiv.

... Frolick [finds]that work in the American studio system is difficult, as it’s hard for authors to retain their vision, and he sees more possibilities for him to avoid this by working in Ukraine. Somehow his words bring to memory the times when the pioneers of American cinema fled from New York to California, to have more freedom doing what they want. So is Ukraine becoming New Hollywood?

Message to Ukraine: Careful what you wish for...


Taras said...

Believe me, there’s nothing to fear for Ukraine. A single outsourcing deal will hardly bring any more Hollywoodization to Ukraine’s comatose movie industry than there already is.

Actually, Ukrainians watch three kinds of mainstream movies: Hollywood, Putinwood, and Sovietwood. In other words, Ukrainians watch American, Russian, and Soviet films — and there are many great ones — but they don’t watch Ukrainian films. And you know why? Save for a few rare species, Ukrainian films don’t exist.

More than that, despite legislation passed last year — in Ukraine’s 16th year of independence — only a fraction of movies is being dubbed into Ukrainian. That’s the point where culture meets politics. And that’s why I was so keen in dissecting the Serduchka phenomenon.

I also believe that the freedom in Billy Frolick’s pilot project dwells side by side with finance.

In Ukraine, a Western screenwriter has the freedom to hire some of the most gifted — and some of the most disadvantaged — musicians and animators in the world.

They love what they do, and they can’t live without it. But they don’t get even 5 percent of the economic freedom their counterparts enjoy in Hollywood.

Pawlina said...

The movie industry is just another business, albeit more high-profile and glamourous than most. If it's any consolation, we don't have a movie industry in Canada to speak of, either. We live in the shadow of our giant neighbour. Always have.

My label "Hollywood East" is a reference to "Hollywood North." That's what Vancouver and Toronto (and increasingly other Canadian cities such as Calgary and Winnipeg) essentially were becoming due to the devalued Canadian dollar, which went as low as 60 cents on the US dollar.

Now, of course, the US dollar has been devalued by the Bush gang and the Canadian dollar has gained ground as a result. Hovering slightly above par, Hollywood North is not such a bargain for the Americans anymore. In BC we're fortunate as we have a booming economy so there are other job opportunties, but Toronto isn't as lucky. That's another story, tho.

I appreciate that the mafia running Ukraine obstructs business development insofar as providing ordinary, honest citizens opportunities and livable salaries. But in Canada, the level of taxation on business serves the same purpose, i.e., keeping the bulk of the wealth in the hands of the descendants of the family compact ...which devalued the Canadian dollar in the first place, to help the export businesses that they were involved in. Now a new gang is in power and a strong dollar is better for their interests.

Our political model is ostensibly built on the British but our reality is influenced, naturally, more by the U.S. Unfortunately, both countries are run by self-serving power mongers. A change in the governing political party is just a change of players in the same old game of "Fleece the Taxpayers." I'm sorry to shatter the illusion that Canada is some economic and political "promised land." But we have our mafia too.

It's just that our mafia are better disguised than yours. And perhaps a tad more sophisticated. Here in North America the power mongers understand that labouring minions provide the bulk of their wealth ... and that worker morale is key to higher productivity, which leads to higher wages and thus more taxes to line their pockets with. They also understand that this self-perpetuating system works best when the giant neighbour isn't wasting resources trying to demoralize if not wipe out the population of the smaller one.

A simple concept that your giant neighbour can't seem to grasp.

Taras said...

You didn’t shatter any illusions:)! My knowledge of North America has long freed me of any illusions.

But your mafia is no match for ours, and it was very important for me to deliver that message to everyone who reads your blog. I’d say in Ukraine we have an advanced form of the Family Compact.

In Ukraine, it’s not just our neighbor. It’s our tolerance of the self-perpetuating slavery he’s left in us.

Which is why the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar in Ukraine has remained stable, as in Yanukovych’s stabilnist, during the last seven years. No wonder, when the obsolete and export-oriented Ukrainian economy grows at annual rate of 7 percent, salaries fall 2 percent.

Pawlina said...

Well, that's a relief... I hate shattering happy illusions! ;-)

Yes, of course Ukrainians have become accustomed to that foreign yoke. It puts me so in mind, sadly, of how they tame wild elephants. Those huge, magnificent beasts are immobilized by chains put on them as babies. So even after they have grown big enough to easily break free, they don't because they are so used to being chained, and their spirit has been broken.

I live in hope that it is possible some spark of that old Ukrainian spirit, the one that drove the Cossacks of old, remains. And that it can be fanned into a beautiful flame that will bring light into a dark world.

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