A month ago, the public was shocked by the news that several hundred million hryvnias had been spent on film and TV series production from the budget. The most expensive purchase at that time was the TV series “Inhulets Town” for UAH 33.6 million, the plot of which included a prototype of a Kirovohrad farmer and president of the local football club “Inhulets” associated with crime, Oleksandr Povorozniuk, an ambiguous character who became a meme.
Then, within a week, the state-owned International Broadcasting Multimedia Platform of Ukraine, which is managed by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, ordered the production of 20 patriotic series and two films for UAH 200 million. Before that, the state-owned enterprise held a competition for the production of audiovisual works and selected 53 projects for funding.
Following massive outrage, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi condemned this mismanagement of funds in his evening speech and said that he had asked the Prime Minister to consider replacing the Minister of Culture. A week later, the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Oleksandr Tkachenko from this post, and the next day his deputy Rostyslav Karandieiev was appointed acting head of the Ministry of Culture.
The latter, meanwhile, said in a commentary to Espresso that he considers the production of series relevant, despite the criticism. However, he also noted that more attention should be paid to documentaries.
Old contracts are being fulfilled and paid
A month has passed since the scandal began, and the contract for the 24-episode TV series “Inhulets Town”, which was to be produced by the company of host Yurii Horbunov, has been terminated. This was initiated by the contractor himself. However, they did not terminate contracts with other film producers. Moreover, some of them have already received payment for their services.
We Are Ukraine LLC received a partial payment of UAH 1.6 million for the documentary series “Fuhrer 2.0″ and “Goals“. Filmstream LLC was paid UAH 416 thousand out of UAH 9.8 million for the dramatic series “Procreation“, and Light Communication LLC was paid UAH 810 thousand for the documentary “Sensitive Content” and the documentary series “Homo amans“, which will cost more than UAH 4 million in total. Another 194.7 thousand UAH was transferred by the state-owned International Broadcasting Multimedia Platform of Ukraine to Prokino LLC for the dramatic series “One Family“.
Thus, a total of UAH 4.6 million has already been spent on the production of the series. Most of these funds were spent on filming documentaries.
New agreements with the winners of the same competition
At the same time, the state-owned enterprise of the Ministry of Culture tried to conduct individual purchases and signed several contracts. There has been no public reaction to this, and on August 29, the state-owned enterprise resumed ordering from the winners of the tenders.
Thus, 13 more orders were added to the 22 (or rather 21, minus “Inhulets”), with a total value of UAH 50.2 million. Now they will also be filming for the TV channels Dim and FreeDom (Uatv):
Filmstream LLC — “Ferry” series in the genre of military drama with 4 episodes of 45 minutes each, for UAH 9.8 million (won the competition as “Ferry”).
Energy Film Production LLC:
- comedy-drama series “My Movie” with two 45-minute episodes for UAH 5.9 million. The State Audit Service even conducted an audit of this procurement and concluded that it found no violations.
- a 16-episode, 45-minute drama series “Family Counselor” for UAH 17.4 million.
Production Agency ASSA Private Enterprise — a 25-30-minute short film “Soldier” in the genre of psychological drama for UAH 3.1 million.
Ukrainian Producer Hub LLC (a company of the former Star Media) — an 8-episode, 45-minute dramedy series “The Heart Knows”, the production of which was estimated at UAH 17.2 million.
Mainstream Pictures LLC:
- “One Big Family” drama series with 4 episodes of 45 minutes each, which was estimated at UAH 7.6 million;
- a documentary drama series “Art in the Shadow of War” with 4 episodes of 45 minutes each, which would cost UAH 4.5 million to shoot;
- “Mangrove Grove“, a military drama series with 4 episodes of 45 minutes each, worth UAH 9 million.
Mamas Production LLC: detective TV series “Kronin” with 8 episodes of 45 minutes each, worth UAH 14.5 million.
Companies from the Starlight media structure (all of them are part of Victor Pinchuk’s EastOne group, and the founder is Starlight Media LLC):
- SLM News LLC — two documentaries, each consisting of 2 episodes of 45 minutes: “Battle for History” for UAH 2.3 million and “The Second Front” for UAH 2 million;
- Starlight Films LLC — 45-minute documentary “Doctors” for UAH 1.8 million;
- Prokino LLC — a drama series “Down the Rabbit Hole” (“Deep into the Rabbit Hole” or “Recognize Me”) with 8 episodes of 45 minutes each, costing UAH 16.9 million to produce.
Thus, despite the emphasis on the importance of documentary films during the war, only four of the 13 new productions will be documentaries. In total, the Ministry of Culture has already ordered the production of 35 TV series and films out of 52 ( excluding “Inhulets Town”) for a total of 216 million UAH. Of this amount, UAH 4.6 million was paid for the launch of filming. In total, the Ministry of Culture has allocated UAH 448.1 million for these services. The state-owned enterprise provided this response to DOZORRO’s information request.