Cannes Critics' Week Prize Winner Set During the Maidan Uprising
Stars Former Ukrainian National Team Gymnast Anastasiia Budiashkina
Theatrical Release Will Include Support for Direct Relief in Ukraine
"Grappe paints indelible images of physically powerful, mentally vulnerable young women who want to step up to the podium at all costs… Budiashkina is a terrific presence, and the film is in thrall to her powers."
– Fionnuala Halligan, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL
"This is a film whose ideas and emotions have come into a fierce new focus… in its unexpected way, this film speaks to the new agony of banishment now being felt by millions of Ukrainians."
– Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
New York, NY – April 26, 2022 – Kino Lorber announced that it has acquired all North American distribution rights to Elie Grappe's Ukrainian gymnast drama Olga. Kino Lorber is planning a theatrical release on June 24, with 10% of proceeds to be donated to Direct Relief in Ukraine.
Olga made its world premiere in the 2021 Cannes Critics' Week, where it was awarded the SACD Prize for co-writers Elie Grappe and Raphaëlle Desplechin. The debut feature from Grappe, Olga stars former Ukrainian National Team gymnast Anastasia Budiashkina in her first film role and is produced by Tom Dercourt and Jean Marc Fröhle.
Olga is a talented teenage Ukrainian gymnast exiled in Switzerland, dreaming of Olympic gold and trying to fit in with her new team in her new home. As she prepares for the European Championships, the Ukrainian people back home in Kyiv rise up in what has become known as the Maidan Revolution, suddenly involving everyone she cares about. Olga is left a powerless, distant bystander as her mother, an investigative journalist, faces danger as she challenges the brutal Yanukovich regime. Incorporating documentary footage from the 2013 uprising, Olga is a tense, sensitively handled tale of exile reflecting the clash between the personal and the political in a young woman's search for identity.
The deal for Olga was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell and Pulsar Content co-founder Gilles Sousa.
"Olga tells a powerful story of resilience and identity", said Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell. "It is a stirring portrayal of a young Ukrainian woman in exile from her family, friends, and homeland, and one that has sadly now taken on worldwide relevance. By centering the story on a teenage athlete with dreams of the future, Olga offers a glimmer of hope for the next generation, even in adversity, and announces the arrival of an incredible young talent in the film debut of gymnast Anastasiia Budiashkina.
"We're delighted that Olga has found such a great home in North America," added Pulsar Content co-founder Gilles Sousa. "After having been acclaimed at Critics Week last year, the film now has a new resonance and with Kino Lorber we are sure it will find its audience."
"In making a film about exile, with a heroine torn between several loyalties and faced with a geopolitical situation bigger than her, I wanted to film the passion of a teenager, and confront her personal issues with collective ones," said director Elie Grappe. "I hope that Olga can bring some context to what is going on today, promote empathy with all Ukrainians who are now outside of their home, and encourage the American audience to support Ukraine with concrete actions. I am very grateful to Kino Lorber - whose catalog is such a reference for cinephiles - for taking care of Olga, and so thankful to Pulsar Content to have reached this agreement for a North American release."
About Elie Grappe
Elie Grappe studied classical music at the National Conservatory of Lyon, then studied filmmaking at ECAL between 2011 and 2015.
While at ECAL, he directed REPETITION, followed by his graduation film SUSPENDED, both of which were selected and awarded in several international festivals. Upon graduation, he co-directed a music documentary, HORS SCÈNE, with Timothée Zurbuchen.
He then directed the casting and coached the performers of Blaise Harrison's film, LES PARTICULES, selected at the Cannes Directors' Fortnight in 2019. In July 2021, his first feature film OLGA was selected in competition at the 60th Critics' Week of the Cannes Film Festival where it received the SACD Prize. Since then, the film has been touring festivals, including Karlovy Vary, Odessa, Brussels, and Hamburg. OLGA was the Swiss entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film 2022. In March 2022, at the Swiss Film Awards, OLGA received the Quartz for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Sound.