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of the ІV International Ethnographic Film Festival OКO-2023

October 1-7 – Sofia, Bulgaria (offline)

October 1-7 – Ukraine (online)

About the Festival
OKO is a union of filmmakers and folklorists, film buffs, and those who honor customs and traditions. It is a celebration of ethnographic and anthropological, documentary and fiction films, where you can see and feel the everyday heartbeat of small and large peoples, communities, and residents of villages and cities. At the same time, it is a platform through which filmmakers, and folklorists, ethnographers, and anthropologists can get to know each other, share ideas and agree on future cooperation. The festival has a competition and non-competition program. The competition program includes two sections: short and full-length documentaries with ethnographic and anthropological features. We also accept Ukrainian and Bulgarian fiction films for screening in the non-competition program. Filmmakers from all over the world can apply for participation in our film festival, except for the Russian Federation, which has occupied part of Ukraine's territory since 2014 and has been conducting active hostilities here since February 24, 2022.

Objectives of the Festival

  • To raise awareness, increase knowledge of one's own culture, and learn about the specifics of other cultures. To help form a national identity.

  • To contribute to the development of intercultural and interethnic dialogue, to reduce acts of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination by showing films about the cultural diversity of peoples and ethnic groups.

  • To archive and make accessible to the public the customs and traditions, folk arts and crafts, and way of life of the ethnic communities in Ukraine, as well as around the world.

  • To stimulate interest in ethnographic and anthropological material, folk arts and crafts among young filmmakers, and to encourage their artistic search in this sphere.

  • To create a space for professional communication between filmmakers and folklorists and encourage the creation of joint projects.

  • To popularize Ukraine in the world and Ukrainian Bessarabia within our country.

OKO is an annual international film festival held in Bolhrad, Odesa region (Ukraine). However, this year's event will take place at home with a backup in Bulgaria because of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The purpose is to ensure the safety of the festival participants and guests, as well as to implement cultural diplomacy. Thus, the IV edition of the OKO – International Ethnographic Film Festival will take place in two countries — in Bulgaria offline (Sofia, October 1-7), in Ukraine online (October 1-7).

As in previous years, we will hold the festival in a combined format — offline and online. The main events will be broadcast online on our social media pages and the official website, where you can also watch most of the films from the competition and non-competition programs. Additionally, we plan to organize exhibitions, meetings with filmmakers, panel discussions, concerts, and master classes to help you fully immerse yourself in the world of ethnography and cinema.


October 1-7, 2023 offline ( Sofia, Bulgaria) 

October 1-7, 2023 online (Ukraine)

Terms and Conditions

  • We accept short and feature-length documentaries with ethnographic and anthropological features that correspond to the festival's central theme. 

  • We also accept Ukrainian and Bulgarian documentaries and fiction films for special screenings out of the competition without any restrictions regarding the year of production. The main thing is that they should be relevant to the topic and genre. Please, submit them marked “Ukrainian and Bulgarian films (non-competitive)”. 

  • Registration of the competition participants is carried out via the online link provided on the website and Facebook page of the OKO film festival. The other way to register is on the specialized FilmFreeway platform. Each submission must be accompanied by a completed application form, which is a required document to be included in the list of contestants.

  • We accept applications and films online. The contest application has to include a link to the work so that it can be viewed through online screeners (closed links for downloading or online viewing on Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) Acceptance of filmmakers' works will last from February 1, 2023, to July 1, 2023.

  • Submission for participation in the competition program is free for all Ukrainian filmmakers.

  • Requirements for the contest entries: H.264 codec (preferably), MP4, MPEG container. Video resolution is preferably 1920 × 1080 (Full HD, 1080p), but not less than 720 × 576. The sound frequency should be 24 kHz or higher. If there is no online copy of the film, please, send it on a flash drive by post.

  • There are no restrictions on the date of production.

  • Each work should have credits: it is necessary to indicate the names of all project participants (including involved people), as well as the date of release.

  • Each film should have subtitles in the srt. format in one of the following languages: Ukrainian, English, or Bulgarian. Authors have two weeks from the moment they submit their application to send the missing materials. Otherwise, the film loses the opportunity to be selected for this year's festival program. 

  • Individual creators and groups of authors who have submitted all the materials according to the abovementioned requirements are eligible for the competition. 

  • We do not accept films whose authors or countries of production are in any way connected with the Russian Federation and support its illegal actions on the territory of Ukraine.

  • Participants must indicate whether they allow their film to be added to online screenings with time restrictions (during the film festival days) and geographical restrictions (at the film festival in Ukraine and Bulgaria). The online format is an alternative option for holding the event in case the war in Ukraine continues, or quarantine restrictions are implemented. Also, it is a way to increase the audience of the films.

  • The festival is entitled to use short fragments of selected films for promotion (not exceeding three minutes).

  • In addition to holding the main festival in Bolhrad and Sofia, OKO will travel to some regions of Ukraine, Bulgaria, and other countries with special screenings, which may include several favorite films. Previously, each participant should agree to screen his or her film during these travels, which will take place throughout the year beyond the main festival dates.

  • Submission of the application means that you agree to the proposed rules and acknowledge the festival's right to use the provided materials for non-commercial purposes.   

First run 
The screening of a film at our festival does not have to be a premiere, but it must not be in open access on the Internet.

Procedure of determining and awarding the winners of the contest

  • To select the winners of the competition, the organizing committee of the film festival has set up the competition commission (the jury), which consists of experts in the field of cinema and folklore, representatives of public organizations, media and the film industry.

  • This year's competition includes short and feature film categories. The winners in these categories will be selected by two separate groups of jury members. 

  • The competition commission will evaluate each work according to the following criteria: director's vision, camerawork, creativity of the idea, fulfillment of the idea, and value of folklore material.

  • In addition to the professional judging, we decided to hold an audience voting: the films that will receive the Audience Award will be selected both in Bolhrad and Sofia.

  • Ukrainian and Bulgarian films will be part of a special program, the best of which will receive a special jury award and a prize.

  • All the participants of the program will receive diplomas and special memorable awards for participation in the OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival.


  • The winner in the Short Film category will receive an award of 20,000 UAH.

  • The winner in the Feature Film category will receive an award of 40,000 UAH. 

  • The Audience Award will be given to the film(s) selected by viewers' voting during the film festival in Bolhrad and in Sofia.

  • There will also be a special prize for Ukrainian and Bulgarian fiction and documentary films that are out of competition.

  • The best film works will get organizational and informational support and will be recommended for practical implementation and further distribution on the VoD services of MEGOGO (Ukraine) and Neterra.TV (Bulgaria).

  • The winners of the film festival will be awarded at the closing ceremony.

The organizers

  • NGO “OKO” – Association of creative personalities

  • Power Film Production company

Management and team members

  • Tetiana Staneva (founder, director and the main producer)

  • Elena Rubashevska (program director)

  • Svitlana Rudiuk (executive producer)

  • Yan Lelyuk (technical director).

  • Oleksandr Baron (communications director)

  • Domnikiia Todorova (administrator)

  • Yaryna Zakalska (SMM manager)

  • Dana Mitanova (editor)

  • Liliya Topor (designer)

Honorary President of the festival – Yuri Dimchoglo

Partners of previous editions (2020-2022):

  • Ukrainian State Film Agency

  • Video service MEGOGO

  • Ferry complex Orlivka LTD

  • State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience

  • Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria

  • Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Ukraine

  • Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark 

  • Executive Agency for Bulgarians Abroad under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, within the program “Bulgarian Aid for Development”

  • Center of Bessarabian Bulgarians in Bulgaria

  • Sofia Cinema House

  • Digital Marketing Agency Netpeak

  • Polish Institute in Kyiv

  • EnergaCAMERIMAGE Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography

  • Ethnographic Museum of Maria Znamerovska-Prufferova in Toruń

  • Tumult Foundation

  • European Film Center CAMERIMAGE

  • Polish Film Institute

  • Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region

  • Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland

  • City of Toruń (Poland)

  • Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

  • Department of Folklore Studies within Educational and Scientific Institute of Philology of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

  • Izmail State University of Humanities

  • Power Film Production

  • UA: Suspilne - Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine

  • News agency Yug.Today 

  • Media portal Bessarabian Front

  • Channel ESPRESO.TV

  • Odesa Film Studio

  • Bolhrad City Council

  • Entrepreneurship Support Fund in the Bolhrad district of Odesa region

  • Odesa Regional Council

  • Regional Development Agency of Odesa region

  • Department of Culture, Nationalities, Religions, Protection of Cultural Heritage Objects of Odesa Regional State Administration

  • State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine (SATD)

  • Folk studio “Pravytsia”

  • Cinema portal

  • Website about the cultural and social life of the Odesa city “Culturemeter”

  • NGO “World Embroidery Day”

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