Odesa Film Studio Celebrates 100th Anniversary
Not only is the Odesa Film Studio a historic treasure, but with two dozen films made there in the past three years alone, it's still actively making cinematic history
In May of 1919, Bolshevik authorities merged the city’s cinema and photo productions into one studio, with the headquarters on Odesa’s French Boulevard.
Over the past century, the studio’s produced nearly 500 films and launched the stellar careers of many well-known Soviet-era actors and directors.
“These chunks of wood were used to make the horse hooves’ sounds in the legendary Soviet film about the three musketeers. The main bulk of the movie was filmed here at the Odesa Film Studio,” Odesa Film Studio Events Department Director Svitlana Eskina said as she clapped the two chunks of wood together, producing a sound very much like that of horse hooves trodding on stone.
“They say the energy on the set was incredible. They say the filming was done in the summer, from April to August. But the actors kept their costumes on during the breaks. They were happy to meet people who came by the set to see the filming process,” Eskina said.
Most of the costumes are also kept here, although the blue capes had to be fixed multiple times during the filming after getting damaged in sword fights.
Mikhail Boyarskiy who played D’Artagnan wore a costume made from genuine leather. This can’t be said about the fancy velvet mantle of the Cardinal.
“It was a very inexpensive kind of cloth. But the camerawork and the skillful camera guys made it took like a gorgeous costume,” Eskina said.
A cardboard cutout of a man at a desk replicates an iconic scene from the film “Spring on Zarechnaya Street,” which was filmed in the very room that the cardboard cutout now resides. It was the studio’s first post-war movie.
“The public was tired of the war, tired of all the devastation. And this film provided some inspiration,” Eskina said.
The Odesa Film Studio is the birthplace of nearly 500 films including historic dramas, romance, action, and comedies. The 1965 film “Devotion” won a prize at the Venice Film Festival. The studio worked with talented directors such as Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Vasiliy Shukshin and Kira Muratova; writers like Isaak Babel and Vladimir Mayakovskiy. Legendary Soviet musician Vladimir Vysotskiy also worked there.
“I used to put a stick-on beard on him. At the same time, I was his double for general shots, from behind and from the side. He only came to do close-ups,” Odesa Film Studio makeup artist Hryhoriy Voloshyn said.
“He would sing songs to us and bring us candy. That’s just the way he was,” Kateryna Lohvynova, the head of the Odesa Film Studio Museum said.
At the museum, you can see where a character Vysotskyi played, a crime-fighting police chief, sat at a table, present with the same lamp, inkwell, and phone from the film.
They’re among the approximately 1,500 props in the collection of the studio.
There are thousands of square meters of film sets, but the famous “5th Pavilion,” which was turned into a museum, seems to be everyone’s favorite.
“This is hallowed ground. We can feel this creative energy here, any director can go through things here and find whatever they need for their next project,” Eskina said.
Over the past three years alone, some two dozen movies have been made at the Odesa Film Studio.