Spotlight on Olga Zhurzhenko, Ukranian PGA Producer
On Feb 11, 2022, Quentin Lee interviewed PGA colleague and producer, Olga Zhurzhenko, who is living and working in Khiv, Ukraine, the center of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict.
After getting a degree in psychology, countless internships and traveling abroad, many years of developing projects in the civil sector, several years of working at international corporations... in winter 2008 on the highway nearby Kyiv, Olga's car fell into the ditch, did a flip and was put back on its wheels. Olga stayed alive, not having any injuries, but now having no peace.
In 2007 Olga got accepted into the Karpenko Karyi University, where she filmed her first short film "Not Scared" (2009) with the director Kateryna Naumenko. Some time after that the «Switchman» (2010) was released with Serhiy Silyava. Then, along with the director Andriy Bezlyudnyi, the screen adaptation for the "Taper" by Chekhov was filmed (2011). All the short films from the student times had been presented on countless Ukrainian and international movie festivals.
In 2009 Olga visited the finance forum for the audiovisual sector entrepreneurs in Luxembourg (EAVE), and the "TrainEastFilm" training in Tbilisi, and also took part in the workshops of the MAPA in the Netherlands. This is when Olga got acquainted with Robert Nilson, a director from San Francisco (the documentary What Happened Here? was created with him later on) and the director from Simferopol Oleg Sentsov (who presented the script for his first feature film «Gaamer»). Since the Olga started visiting countless forums and films festivals all over Europe, where she built a strong network with various film industry professionals. In Summer 2011 she started working with Oleg Sentsov and "Kray Kinema" company, which resulted in the "Rhino" project being developed, which got prizes on the film-project competitions in Sofia, Yerevan and Odessa, and the "Gaamer" project, that received various awards on the festivals. In 2012 along with the director Oksana Artemenko short film "Vanya" was filmed, which received at least 15 awards and also the movie "Daughter of the Bayanist" with director Kateryna Naumenko was released. This is when the "Ukrkino" film production company was founded. Same year Olga started working on the first big project - the family musical comedy of Anatoliy Mateshko «Trubach» (2014). The movie was financed by the Ukrainian State Film Agency and was one of the first big movies made in Ukraine after a long stagnation. the movie was released in the theaters all over Ukraine, and also was presented on 8 festivals, receiving bronze on the International festival of movies for Children in Ukraine.
In 2013-2015 on the request of UPS company two TV movies were developed "You will be mine" and "A pill against tears"
From 2015 till 2018 Olga was working in California, where she became a member of the Producers Guild of America and took part in the promo campaigns of the Ukrainian movies nominated for Oscar. After returning to Ukraine in 2018 Olga worked on a couple of projects, including the Oscar Campaign for the movie "Donbass" in Los Angeles along with "Arthouse Traffic", when the American magazines wrote about a Ukrainian movie for the first time.
Olga is also a member of the American organization Women in Film and Ukrainian and European Film-Academies.