On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, enveloping the land in bloodshed and destruction. As the country’s third most populous city and its biggest Black Sea port, Odesa has remained firmly in Moscow’s sights ever since. The city has been shelled repeatedly. The front line is less than a hundred miles away.
But in the face of terror, the Odesa Philharmonic, Ukraine’s foremost orchestra, plays on. Some of the orchestra’s members, like clarinetist Yuriy Hayats, double as ambulance drivers and medics at the front. But they continue to perform, and audiences continue to show up.
Odesa, the film, is an inspiring account of this extraordinary act of defiance, of a city that has been a thriving multi-cultural hub for centuries, and of the will to go on creating and performing against all the odds. It is also a portrait of a remarkable group of artists and their American principal conductor, Hobart Earle. Under his leadership, over the last thirty years the Odesa Philharmonic has risen to become one of Europe’s finest orchestras.
In 2023, they are planning to play three concerts: one in Berlin, one in London and one in New York. The film follows them, exploring their relationships, the drives that motivates them, the ties that bind them, and their amazing ability to move and inspire audiences.
Odesa – a portrait of hope and the creative spirit in the face of terror.
Odesa is a collaboration between twice Emmy-nominated director/writer Graham Townsley of Shining Red Productions and The Jüdische Kulturbund Project helmed by Gail Prensky and Mark Haney. This award-winning team has already collaborated on the feature film project, SINGER, a story of Jewish artists struggling to survive and create in 1930’s Germany, and on projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean supporting artists in the face of poverty and oppression.
Odesa is a passion project for everyone involved. The team is now seeking funding and support so that the film can go into production in 2023.