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ІV Edition of OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival: Call for Submissions



OKO team is excited to announce the Call for Submissions for the 4th edition of the festival, which will take place on September 9-16, 2023 in Bolhrad, Ukraine, and September 23-30 in Sofia, Bulgaria. This is a new format for our festival, which is growing every year. We sincerely hope that OKO will be able to gather the international public in peaceful Ukraine, in the festival’s hometown of Bolhrad in the Southern part of the country. However, we consider different scenarios and are ready to make the festival happen abroad with the help of our partners and friends. Disregarding the turn of events, we can be 100% sure: OKO will live! And we can’t wait for your films to arrive.


What is OKO?

OKO is a film festival that was born in the beautiful southern Ukrainian region of Bessarabia. It is a festival of ethnographic and anthropological documentaries, where the audience can feel the heartbeat of small and large nations, get acquainted with the diversity of cultures, traditions, beliefs, and ways of life. OKO is a multicultural event where filmmakers, folklorists, anthropologists, and ethnographers will be able to better understand each other, share ideas, and agree on future cooperation.

Due to the outbreak of a new stage of Russian aggression on February 24, 2022 the festival’s third edition took place in Poland, with the support and within the framework of the renowned EnergaCAMERIMAGE International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography. The 4th edition of OKO will have two parts: Ukrainian and Bulgarian, with the respective dates of September 9-16 and September 23-30 in Bolhrad and Sofia*.


*the organizers have the right to change the dates and location of the festival based on the current situation in Ukraine; participants will be informed about any changes.


What films are we looking for?

Short (up to 40 min) and feature (40+ min) documentary films with ethnographic and anthropological values are welcomed. They must correspond to the main subjects of the festival.

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. Please submit them marked “Ukrainian and Bulgarian films (non-competitive)”.

In 2023, through selected films, OKO will pay a special tribute to heroes of various types. Together with filmmakers, we will explore the concept of heroism and introduce heroes from different parts of the world. We want to learn who are your heroes: from brave warriors to charity workers, from national leaders to family members, from historical personalities to folklore characters. We are looking for stories about people who make our planet a better place; people whom we can look up to; people (and nations!) whose stories are worth being told.

Where do I submit?

Applications and films are accepted online via the Filmfreeway platform from February 1st to July 1st, 2023. English subtitles are obligatory.

After the main event, OKO will travel around Ukraine and our partnering countries with screenings of the winning films in various institutions, including cinemas, palaces of culture, universities, schools, youth clubs, bookstores, libraries, and frontline areas.

Participants agree to show their film as a part of OKO Travels (each screening will be announced).



Do I pay a submission fee?

Submissions for Ukrainian and International filmmakers are free of charge up to the Regular Call deadline (May 31st, 2023).



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