6 No.15 MARCH 6, 2018 CLOSE UP WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA By Maria PROKOPENKO, photos by Artem SLIPACHUK, The Day Ukrainian school students annually create up to 500 inventions. These designs can facilitate rescue operations, say, during fires, automate certain business processes or improve the state of the environment. But most of these ideas never come to fruition. Their authors lack knowledge of how to submit their creative products to an investor and have no way to contact these investors. Many inventors are grouped in the Junior Academy of Sciences (JAS). Therefore, the JAS initiated the first state-run business incubator for high school students, which is called the UF Incubator and is being created now. The name stands for the Ukrainian Future Incubator. The project went operational in February, but not to the full extent yet. At present, participants in the incubation program attend the ManLab laboratory once a month, where they learn the basics of marketing, business plan making, and idea promotion. Meanwhile, at the end of this year, a large facility at 13, Chokolivskyi Boulevard, the building once housing the Yerevan Cinema, will open and make available spaces for lectures and other educational events, prototyping, etc. Head of the UF Incubator Vitalii Lisovyi told us about the project’s current condition and showed how it would look like in six months. Meanwhile, the first participants of the incubation program used us for training in presenting their projects. ● RUBBER WASTE 15-year-old Danylo Kovalenko, who is studying at the Polytechnic Lyceum of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI), wants to grant a new life to used tires. “No one has ever invented such a thing! The technique involves deep cooling of the tires with liquid nitrogen, and then subjecting them to ultrasound, which breaks them into small bits. These bits can be used to make rubber products of every kind,” the high school student explained. Now the tires are either stored or burned. It is harmful to the environment, and potentially reusable raw material is lost as well. Kovalenko’s technique is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and has no analogues. “Another advantage of this technique is the absence of direct contact between the machine’s parts and tires. After all, for example, there is a technique for processing of tires in a kind of ‘meat grinder.’ There is a very high wear and tear of equipment involved. Our machine, meanwhile, works remotely, and we do not have to replace the worn parts every month,” the student added. “There is another remotely working technique, which involves processing tires with ozone, but it is environmentally harmful and quite dangerous because ozone is an unstable substance. Therefore, I think our technique faces no real competition.” Kovalenko has already tested his technique and even patented it. But the power capacity used during the test was low. “We worked with installations having power output of 50 and 250 watts, although the test requires at least 4,000 watts to make everything obvious. Such installations are very expensive, and we need investment to get them. But this technique works,” the student assured us. The designer has developed the concept of a plant where tires would be processed by ultrasound. But he needs to carry out tests on powerful installations first, and calculate how many tires can be processed per hour. Kovalenko has lately written to international tire-making companies to interest them in his technique. The kid hopes that the business incubator will help with the search for an investor and promotion of the project. ● FOR THE YOUNGEST INNOVATORS It is believed that the first business incubator appeared in the US in the late 1950s, it was founded by Joseph Mancuso. It became a trend in the 1990s. “Globally, there are profit-making business incubators that are created by private companies, Ideas, come out! How the first state-run business incubator for school students operates VITALII LISOVYI and there are those that function in educational institutions,” Lisovyi said. “Most leading US universities, such as ones located in Massachusetts or Florida, have business incubators for students who can implement their projects there. Almost all countries of the EU have a developed network of such incubators: Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland, etc. We are an academic institution, we are engaged in the science education of highschoolers, therefore creating a business incubator in our structure is logical.” It is noteworthy that the UF Incubator focuses on highschoolers, while similar entities typically work with college students. “For many years, the JAS has conducted a competition for youth innovation projects, called the Future of Ukraine. There, kids annually present their best inventions, prototypes, projects. Actually, this competition has inspired the creation of a business incubator. The kids who take part in it are talented and have ready-made solutions that can compete with those proposed by adults. Their inventions have to do with robotics, instrument-making industry, materials science, electronics, etc. But often enough, these kids do not have the opportunity to implement their projects in the business environment, commercialize them,” Lisovyi continued. “The main task of our business incubator is to help kids gain business education skills. They want to know how to present their product, how to persuade an investor to finance a project, how to work in a team, which promotion strategy to choose, and so on. Our task is also to help kids to patent their designs.” ● “IF YOU HAVE A COOL IDEA, YOU MAY COME AND WORK HERE” The manager showed us the technical passport of the location which will appear in Chokolivskyi Boulevard. “There will be a coworking there, where kids who would get into the incubation program will be able to work. They will be able to use office equipment, have a place to work. There will also be a film lecture hall seating 250, which will host lectures, training sessions, meetings with successful startuppers,” recounted the head of the UF Incubator. “The prototype laboratory will operate there, with 3D printers, a soldering station, and milling machines available. Our experts will help everyone to use it.” The UF Incubator will be able to host eight teams at the same time which will be selected by competition. Each team will include 8 to 10 participants. “However, if you do not belong to a team, but have a cool idea, you may come and work here, it is not a problem,” Lisovyi added. The incubation program will last from 3 to 10 weeks, totally depending on the level of readiness of the project and the composition of the team that will work on it. While the center is under construction, young designers are attending training sessions and lectures. The next event will be held in late March and will be devoted to fundraising. And in the summer, the incubator team wants to hold a startup school. To select participants, it will announce a competition. If one has an interesting idea, they can apply, and experts will select the most interesting projects. ● “DESIGNS SHOULD MAKE LIFE EASIER OR PROTECT IT” While we were talking with Lisovyi, a student of KPI’s Polytechnic Lyceum Serhii Lysin approached us. The kid, who is 14, is developing a fire-fighting robot with a computer vision-based homing system. “We have analyzed the existing prototypes of fire-fighting robots and seen that it is difficult to control them. A person must be present when they are extinguishing the fire. Therefore, we have decided to automate this process a bit and created a computer vision system, which allows the robot to autonomously look for a fire and extinguish it,” Lysin described his idea. A prototype of the robot stood next to him, and the kid connected it to the computer and showed us how it worked. Of course, we did not ignite a fire beforehand. The designer translated an RGB image that reflected the way we see in normal life into the HSV format. The robot reacts to moving red contours, which it identifies as a fire. On the monitor, they look green. Lysin also showed how it was tested in conditions approximating real life. A small robot travels fast and looks for a fire, and when it identifies one, it uses a firefighting hose to smother it. “So far, people have to be present for some time when extinguishing fires, but we are improving the process,” the student commented. “It is just a prototype. We want to add another plane for the computer vision system, to design a case for it. To use such a robot in forests and at large enterprises, oil terminals, we need to make it bigger. Also, I am learning a new programming language right now, and we will create a better model using it.” Lysin worked on this project together with his research adviser for several months. He had invented some designs before, but called them “less serious.” However, all of them were intended to make rescue operations work better. “My first idea was a demining robot. I wanted to make a device that would go about carrying a metal detector and looking for mines. Every mine has iron inside. I thought that it was possible to make a metal detector that would find mines, and it would be safer for humans. But I then faced many problems designing it, and realized that it would be unrealistically expensive,” the kid recalled. “Then I and my partner came up with a modular rescue robot. It was like a caterpillar that could get into hard-toreach places and look for people. I think that all designs should make life easier or protect people.” ● A NEW APPROACH TO GARDENING The projects of the first students of the UF Incubator are not only about machines. Den covered before the story of Ukrainian gardening beginning in the hills around the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves. The 11thgrader Svitlana Shuhailo created a model of the Paradise Garden, which she proposes to plant on the monastery’s grounds. “The idea occurred to me when I walked around the Kyiv Caves Sanctuary and stumbled upon a not very attractive tract. There were lots of construction debris there. I thought: ‘Why not create a garden in this place, which would become an ornament of the city?’” Shuhailo shared her thoughts with us. While attending the JAS, the highschooler wrote a paper on the basic principles of the organization of monastery gardens from the Middle Ages to the Baroque Age. The garden which Shuhailo proposes to create in Kyiv is to be formed along the same principles. “This is an ideal resting place for everyone! One can sit near the fountain and feel the aroma of lavender planted next to it. People who are tired of urban life can retire into rose-lined pergolas. There is also a medicinal herb garden within it, featuring spicy aromatic plants. There should be fruit trees and berry shrubs there as well: apple trees and raspberry shrubs, with different species of currants planted along the perimeter of garden trails. Each quarter of the garden should have a mixed border, a flower bed that changes with every season,” the highschooler said while conducting a virtual tour. The girl observed that potentially, the garden could even be profitable as a source of plant material for all kinds of tea, soap, etc. Also, every plant here has a symbolic meaning. “I brought this project to the Kyiv Startup Festival last year, and it became clear that people needed a product that brings profits right now,” Shuhailo stated. “A garden is a bit different, as the implementation of such a project takes time. That was why I got interested in the business incubator: having an idea is nice, but who needs it if you cannot convey its importance? In my case, it is the fact that one can make money also through gardens, while bringing benefits to people.” ● “ATTRACTING OUR BUSINESSPEOPLE WOULD BE COOL” Lysin has a similar motivation. “The incubator lets me promote my project in the future. Because if I invent something, and then sit at home and do not tell anyone about it, it would be illogical,” the boy mused. Private incubators do exist in Ukraine, but their approach is different from that of the UF Incubator. Lisovyi said: “As a rule, private business incubators want to have something real that can be put into production tomorrow. We want to help develop the idea. We choose the best and help them.” Some projects of JAS students have already found support from investors and grown into innovative companies. But these are isolated cases, and the UF Incubator wants to see more of them. Lisovyi optimistically maintained that projects created by Ukrainian school students might potentially be of interest to businesspeople from many countries. But he added: “First of all, it would be great for the nation if Ukrainian businesspeople started investing in us. There are technology companies in Ukraine that may be interested in such designs.”
WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA CULT URE No.15 MARCH 6, 2018 7 By Dmytro DESIATERYK, The Day, Berlin – Kyiv REUTERS photos The cinema is repeatedly compared with the dream; but there are different kinds of dreams. Some visions do not distract from reality, but, on the contrary, penetrate its surface, help to see the hidden matter, which is sometimes beautiful, and sometimes terrible. A bad film, meanwhile, alienates the viewer both from reality and from art. The Berlin Festival, with its scale, controversies, the eternal struggle of art and politics, aesthetics and ethics, functions as a feast of attentive look. This year, it suffered a downturn without any apparent reason. There were some good films entered in the competition, a lot of middle-grade ones and failures, but there was no breakthrough, no true pinnacle equal to previous years’ entries including The Milk of Sorrow by Claudia Llosa (Peru), Taxi by Jafar Panahi (Iran), Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rosi (Italy), and Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki (Japan). For the festival’s director of many years Dieter Kosslick, this Berlinale was the last; he announced his resignation as early as last year. Apparently, a spectacular farewell did not work out. A feast of inattention The 68th Berlin Film Festival turned out to be the most controversial one in the past few years copyist of the reality which he is directing. His game goes too far, with fatal consequences. Eva is a well-made but utterly ordinary thriller, and the only lasting impression comes from the work done by Huppert, who leads her character throughout the range of states that the story requires: from indifference to rage, from humble passivity to dangerous aggression, from subjugation to domination. She is not afraid to appear in the film without makeup, with clear signs of her age, and remains charming despite it. The jury left Huppert without awards, but her acting immortality will not be affected by it. ferent from those reflected in thrillers or action films. July 22 tells the story that unfolded for an hour and a half on the island of Utoya on July 22, 2011, when the Nazi terrorist Anders Breivik shot dead dozens of children and teenagers there. The events are shown through the eyes of the 19-year-old Kaja (Andrea Berntzen), and the drama follows in full the principles of the unity of place and time. Poppe does not show violence directly, but rather creates an air of suspense through close and distant shots and shouts. The camera is moving fast from one hiding place to another, faithfully reflecting the chaos of the massacre, and stops for a short while to show those already dead. Mo- But there were better examples of combining relevance to modern issues with high quality. The psychological drama The Heiresses (Paraguay-Uruguay-Germany-Brazil, directed by Marcelo Martinessi), which won the Alfred Bauer Prize for opening new perspectives in the cinema, tells the story of an elderly lesbian, who, living in her father’s mansion which she has inherited, is gradually selling it out just as she experiences a personal crisis. It covers the subjects of LGBT issues, social justice, and erotica as well, but all these are done in an appropriate and accurate manner. The film is made using half-tones, without sharp turns, with skillfully muted acting. The action is so slow, the actresses (almost the whole story space is filled with female characters) are so restrained that sometimes it seems that nothing happens on the screen; nonetheless, it makes for an interesting viewing experience, and at the end, the director brings the plot to a decent final streak: the protagonist does break out of the soul-killing routine, after all. Ana Brun, who starred in the leading role, deservedly received the Silver Bear for Best Actress. Such stories of downtrodden little people were the best part of the competition, and they got rewarded sometimes. For instance, Mug THE JURY AWARDED THE SILVER BEAR FOR BEST DIRECTOR TO WES ANDERSON FOR THE ANIMATED FILM ISLE OF DOGS (UK-GERMANY) WHICH OPENED THE FESTIVAL. ON BEHALF OF ANDERSON, ACTOR BILL MURRAY, WHO VOICED, TOGETHER WITH OTHER TOP STARS, ONE OF THE DOGS, RECEIVED THE PRIZE THE GOLDEN BEAR WAS AWARDED TO THE FILM TOUCH ME NOT BY THE ROMANIAN DIRECTOR ADINA PINTILIE (CO-PRODUCTION OF ROMANIA, GERMANY, THE CZECH REPUBLIC, BULGARIA, AND FRANCE) I will start with the biggest disappointment. Many hopes were pinned on the German director Philip Groening. He is known for two impeccably made works – documentary Into Great Silence and feature film The Police Officer’s Wife, as well as for spending a lot of time perfecting his films, so people expected him to do something awesome. Groening’s My Brother’s Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot shows 48 hours from the lives of a sister and a brother. The sister is preparing for an exam in philosophy, the brother helps her; between the studies, they sunbathe, bath, drink beer, do foolish things. The two quote from Augustine, Plato, Martin Heidegger, and muse on the nature of time. They also play complex games which they alone understand. These games gradually lead them to commit increasingly violent acts. Hostage-taking, robbery, incest, rape, murder – Groening exerts pressure on the viewer with a stream of affects, but these scenes are not grounded within the plot, do not follow from the logic of the characters’ development, are not supported by acting. All the horror could have happened, but it could have failed to just as well; the senseless cruelty echoes the senselessness of the story itself. Benoit Jacquot’s thriller Eva, starring Isabelle Huppert in the title role, serves as an antithesis of sorts to My Brother’s Name...; it is based on the namesake novel by the English detective fiction writer James Hadley Chase. This movie is also about a game, but it is not intellectual. The film’s antagonist is a man called Bertrand (Gaspard Ulliel), who steals a play after its author’s sudden demise, and becomes a successful playwright by posing as its creator. The publisher and the public demand that he write another play, so Bertrand finds the prostitute Eva (Huppert) and begins to feign a relationship with her, trying to get her fall in love with himself, and uses all the dialogs and situations as a material for work, thus acting as the Overall, Eva can be grouped with competition entries that left the viewers with no space for reflections, entertaining the audience with the simplest attractions: a dramatic plot or special effects. The participation of such pictures in the festival, which focuses on more profound cinema, is questionable, but perhaps not this time. The Silver Bear for Best Director went to a feature-length animated film by the American Wes Anderson, called Isle of Dogs. It shows Japan of the near future; mayor of the fictitious city of Megasaki is obsessed with hatred of dogs, which he, on the pretext of an epidemic of “canine flu” (also created by him), quarantines on a remote island turned into a huge landfill. The 12-year-old nephew of the mayor descends to this sad reservation after hijacking a plane to search for his dog, and thus causes a revolution. The story is simple. Teens, scientists, and dogs are good guys, while officials and mafiosis are bad guys, who advocate the interests of cats in such a murderous way. The good guys win in the end, of course. People speak Japanese (sometimes without translation, but clearly) and English, while dogs speak English alone, and a quite refined variety of it to boot. It touches upon topics of environmental issues and corruption, as well as government conspiracy. In a word, it is a good(ish), topical(ish), simple(ish) work. Although it involves certain adult moments, in content it is an unpretentious little fairy tale for elementary and middle school-aged kids. One feels genuine respect for tremendous work embedded in dolls and decorations, and appreciates diligently executed details, up to fleas cruising in dogs’ hair. Unfortunately, the director’s effort did not match that of dollmakers and decorators. The motives of the jury remain a mystery. A burningly dense plot drives the drama U – July 22, directed by 58-year-old Norwegian Erik Poppe, but the author’s intentions here are difments of motion and relative calm alternate at the right rhythm. At the very beginning, Kaja turns to the camera: “You will never understand, so just listen,” and although this is only part of her phone call with her mother, the appeal is clear: it is not a reconstruction, but an attempt, as far as possible, to put the viewer in the victims’ position. Poppe succeeded in it: the film strikes the nerves like a well-honed razor, and ends with an astounding final. Unfortunately, July 22 received only an honorable mention from the Ecumenical Jury, although it deserved higher honors. Actually, going back to the beginning of our conversation, it seems that the main competition jury of the festival, presided over by Tom Tykwer of Run Lola Run fame, found itself trapped between pretentiousness and “attractions.” While the latter got recognized through awarding a prize to Anderson, the former influenced the decision on the Golden Bear itself. The top prize, as well as the prize for the best debut, was awarded to the Romanian-German-French- Czech-Bulgarian co-production Touch Me Not, directed by Adina Pintilie. All the components of modern art house aesthetics are present there: the imitation of documentary cinema going as far as the author’s appearance in the film; a disabled actor suffering from spinal muscular atrophy; lots of erotica, generously seasoned with conversations (aimed to make it into meaningful erotica); actual conversations which are confessions by the director, long and poorly connected to the plot; various kinds of tactile interaction in sterile white interiors; positive attitude to every manifestation of corporeality. Almost all of these components are not bad by themselves, but having been brought together in this film, they make the impression of a well-thought-out exploitation production, as if the director knew what the modern festival cinema looked like, and constructed a kind of Golem. In the end, she did well enough for herself. (Twarz) by Malgorzata Szumowska (Poland) received the Jury Grand Prix. Szumowska is a favorite child of the Berlinale: she won the Teddy Award from the LGBT jury for the film In the Name Of in 2013, followed by the Silver Bear for Best Director for the picture Body in 2015. This time, she brought to the event a story about Jacek, a handsome villager who has literally lost his face: it became deformed after he fell during the construction of a tallest-ever statue of Christ. His bride turns away from him, his mother believes him to be possessed by the devil, and children start teasing him in the street. Szumowska adheres to liberal, secular beliefs, and her intentions are quickly becoming apparent, as she aims to ridicule dogmatic Catholic morality and small-town customs. She shows ordinary people in all the unattractiveness of their simplicity; the director does not spare clergymen either, like in the scene of confession in which the priest questions the young sinner about the details of her sin. And although it shows a lot of pain, Mug is still a funny movie. It is funny and angry. Over 20 pictures entered the main competition; I have mentioned only the best or most characteristic ones. From a purely statistical point of view, the 68th Berlinale was not a failure: it sold 330,000 tickets, hosted accredited representatives from 130 countries, and stars were quite numerous on the red carpet. That is, we did see a feast. However, it was a feast of inattention, an ordinary dream that gets forgotten the next morning. Still, the negative result is also a result. The Berlinale will reboot, draw conclusions, and make a splash with new energy. And it would be nice if Ukraine got represented there accordingly by that moment. Because this festival is really made for such film industries as ours, which, by and large, have nothing to lose.