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Challenging & Crossing The Cultural Divides

Dolya Gavanski
Dolya Gavanski attends the Cannes Film Festival promoting Golos: Ukrainian Voices, an emotive and compelling feature documentary about Ukraine today which provides a unique and valuable insight into the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people, which she has produced, written and co-directed through her company Thea Films.

Gavanski set up Thea Films to focus on human issues across diverse cultures, with an emphasis on storytelling and characters that challenge stereotypes. Her particular interest is to delve deeper into the Eastern European experience, often cliched within the media.

Dolya says: I have played quite a few Magdas in my time for instance," she laughs, "Magda the babysitter, Magda the receptionist, Magda the businesswoman - there is something in the name Magda; or Olga, the oligarch's wife, and of course Olga the prostitute. Please don't get me wrong - I don't mind playing prostitutes, but I do mind playing a two dimensional one."

It was Shakespeare who originally drew actor, writer and filmmaker Dolya Gavanski to England as a teenager with dreams to perform classical works on the stage. After a tumultuous early life in Eastern Europe when she witnessed the falling apart of Yugoslavia and was forced to seek her education in many different countries, the huge upheavals and imposed changes she experienced as a youngster have inspired her throughout her life. The desire to tell stories, build bridges and to understand and explore cultural differences is the driving force behind her work as a writer, producer and director of film.

As an accomplished actress she has worked with many respected directors including Michael Winterbottom, Angelina Jolie, Sir Trevor Nunn, and more recently Susanna White, who directed Our Kind of Traitor with Ewan McGregor, Stellan Starsgard and Damian Lewis, due for release in May (after Cannes). She has extensive experience in film, television and theatre, both on stage and as a producer of plays ranging from Shakespeare's dramas through to contemporary classics.

The working title of her second film, Soviet Woman: Work, Build and Don't, explores the various roles women played in a changing Soviet society and the way propaganda portrayed them. Currently in development is Gamblers, a provocative and satirical modern-day television drama series set among Russians who have made London their home. Inspired by The Gambler by Dostoevsky, Gavanski's play The Russian Gambler aired as a BBC Radio 4 play starring Ed Stoppard, Eleanor Bron, and Mathew Marsh.

Dolya Gavanski is also involved with the production company Cultural Solidarity Media whose aims are to promote peace and understanding across cultures through film. "Making a film about peace is quite a challenge - peace is not really dramatic," she says wistfully.

Contact  During  Cannes  2016  -  Riviera  Stand D7

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Day 1 - May 11th
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