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The European film industry reacts to the Russian attack on Ukraine


- An overview of the reactions from film professionals that have been pouring in since Russia's offensive on the entirety of Ukrainian territory

The European film industry reacts to the Russian attack on Ukraine
(© Presidential Administration of Ukraine)

Despite what the whole of the European community might have expected in the 21st century, Russia has declared war on Ukraine. On 24 February 2022, Vladimir Putin's government carried out a large-scale offensive on Ukrainian territory, expanding their invasion from the already occupied areas (Crimea and part of the Donbas) to other key regions in the country, such as the capital, Kyiv. Chaos ensued, with thousands of Ukrainians trying to flee the country, while martial law was enacted by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to fight the Russian enemy.

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The invasion sparked international condemnation, and the film industry is clearly not oblivious to the suffering and the distress that Ukrainian citizens are now enduring.

Here is an overview of the reactions (including recent reactions) from film professionals that have been pouring in since the beginning of the invasion:

In solidarity with the Ukrainian film industry, EFP (European Film Promotion) is now also offering promotional support for finished and unfinished films from the Ukraine via its initiative, Film Sales Support (FSS) (read more).

Cineuropa and several partners will screen the recent Ukrainian feature Klondike [+see also:
film review
interview: Maryna Er Gorbach
film profile
 directed by Maryna Er Gorbach on 19 April in the evening at Brussels' Cinema Galeries. This screening will close a week of Ukrainian cinema organised by Galeries. It will be mainly for institutional guests (by invitation) with a limited numbers of tickets for sale for the general public (100% of revenues for director/producer) (read more).

Ukrainian media companies launch a $20 million content fund to help the country’s TV industry (read more).

Newly-formed Ukrainian Producers’ Association, whose objective is to produce documentaries, educational films and series telling the world about origins, causes and consequences of the Russian war in Ukraine, announces its first seven projects (read more).

SOFA organises a workshop for its Ukrainian and Belarusian alumni (read more).

Since its inception by the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) three weeks ago, the "Emergency Fund for Filmmakers" has already supported 108 filmmakers who are in direct danger because of the ongoing war in Ukraine (read more).

Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius died on 2 April as he was trying to leave the Ukrainian town of Mariupol, besieged by Russian forces (read more).

The Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, has signed a decree that allocates 2 million euros to 20 Italian cultural foundations for the realization of artistic residences for Ukrainian artists in their respective sectors of activity: theater, cinema, visual arts, opera, dance, museology . "A concrete support to the Ukrainian artists who in these dramatic hours are fleeing the war to find refuge in Italy", said the Minister. Among the supported foundations, Fondazione Biennale di Venezia e Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma (read more).

CinEast4Ukraine: CinEast supports the victims of the war in Ukraine with a special charity screening of The Earth Is Blue As An Orange [+see also:
film review
interview: Iryna Tsilyk
film profile
by Iryna Tsylik at Kinepolis Kirchberg on Thursday 31 March at 19.00, followed by a discussion about the humanitarian situation (read more).

The FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) announced that the Moscow International Film Festival and Message to Man International Film Festival have had their accreditation paused “until further notice.”

Sergei Loznitsa is expelled from the Ukrainian Film Academy. According to the body, the director "has repeatedly stressed that he considers himself a cosmopolitan, "a man of the world". However, now, when Ukraine is struggling to defend its independence, the key concept in the rhetoric of every Ukrainian should be his national identity. There can be no compromises or halftones here."

Four short films made by Mariupol locals are available worldwide on Ukrainian VOD platform Takflix, with 50% of proceeds going to Mariupol City Council and its humanitarian missions (read more).

Bif&st-Bari International Film Festival will confer the Federico Fellini Award to the filmmakers of Ukraine. The award will be delivered to the Ukrainian director Daria Onyshchenko who will become ambassador to her colleagues. Onyshchenko will present her film in Bari in the same afternoon, Zabuti (The Forgotten), an intense and engaging drama about the tragic situation in Ukraine (read more).

Olias Barco, the French-Belgian filmmaker behind the viral campaign video from the Ukrainian government about a hypothetical attack in Paris, is fighting against Russia on the Ukrainian front (read more).

CPH:DOX stands with Ukraine In solidarity with Ukraine and its filmmakers. The festival adds three Ukrainian films to this year’s programme, and hosts a dedicated programme of seven powerful films focusing on Ukraine (read more).

The Berlinale takes a clear stand against a general boycott of cultural works on the basis of their origin "as this would also suppress many critical voices. And the world needs those critical voices. It is a different matter to exclude official state institutions and, in this case, Russian institutions or delegations" (read more).

The Green Screen platform of European Greens will be screening Sergei Loznitsa's Maidan [+see also:
film profile
, chronicling the civil uprising which took place in Kiev, Ukraine, in the winter of 2013-2014, for free from 23 March 00:00 CET to 24 March 23:59 CET (read more).

The Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival has published an open letter to the film industry calling for the boycott of Russian cinema (read more).

French filmmakers Nicolas Blies and Stéphane Hueber-Blies, directors of Zero Impunity [+see also:
film review
film profile
, have sent an open letter supporting Ukrainian filmmakers and calling for a boycott of Russian cinema (read more).

The Sarajevo Film Festival adds Ukraine to its regional programmes. Ukrainian films, projects and filmmakers will now be eligible for the festival's official sections, CineLink Industry Days, Talents and a newly launched residency programme (read more).

Czech-Slovakian distribution company Film Europe is helping humanitarian organisation in Slovakia People in Need by sending to them all sales benefits from French-Swiss-Ukrainian movie Olga [+see also:
film review
interview: Elie Grappe
film profile
, directed by Elie Grappe, for their support fund to Ukraine.

Filmmakers for Ukraine is a place of help for filmmakers and their families and minorities in and from Ukraine. Created by Crew United, the platform aims to support Ukrainian filmmakers and their families, as well as disadvantaged groups and minorities in Ukraine (read more).

The Krakow Film Festival hosts a part of the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, which was due to begin on 25 March in Kyiv (read more).

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) will present Ukrainian projects in Cannes this May and launch a film programme dedicated to Ukrainian cinema on its web cinema platform (read more).

The Ji.hlava IDFF kicks of a special online event to support Ukraine. From Monday to Sunday, it will offer a selection of films that help to explain contexts of the post-Soviet space. Each day until the end of the week one film will be available for free to viewers worldwide via (read more).

The Wiz-Art - Lyiv International Short Film Festival, has curated 4 programmes of short films from Ukraine, all available online. All proceeds go to helping Ukrainian children (read more).

The Slovak Film Institute strongly condemns the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine's sovereignty and expresses solidarity and full support for its people and takes several steps against Putin's government and in support of the Ukrainian filmmaking community (read more).

The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) launches "Emergency Fund for Filmmakers" in the wake of the Ukraine war (read more).

Netflix has announced that it will halt its services entirely in Russia amid ongoing concerns over its invasion of Ukraine.

Europa International stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and its members will put on hold further business with Russia as the war rages on (read more).

The Polish Film Institute supports Ukrainian filmmakers with the creation of a fund to promote Polish-Ukrainian film and cultural initiatives, publishes jobs ads under their "Help for Ukrainian Citizens" tab and offers office space, legal assistance (read more).

The filmmakers of the French organisation L’ARP strongly condemn the Russian invasion on the Ukrainian territory (read more in French).

New Europe Films Sales, sales agent of Valentyn Vasyanovych's Reflection [+see also:
film review
interview: Valentyn Vasyanovych
film profile
, the Venice-selected film that tells the story of an Ukrainian surgeon captured by the Russian military forces in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine and tortured while in captivity fully empathizes with their Ukrainian friends and the team behind the film, and hence would like to take this message further, to a wider public. In order to help them share the story of Reflection with audiences across the globe and financially support people who made it and are now striving for survival in Kyiv, if distributors, exhibitors or festival programmers can find space for the film in their programme they can reach out to New Europe Film Sales and they will assist with all deliverables at no cost and will renounce the right to any commission sending 100% revenues to producers.

Ukrainian producer Denis Ivanov sends an open letter to ask for support of the boycott of Russian cinema and culture (read more).

Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov asks the international film community to support the boycott of Russian cinema and culture (read more).

CICAE expresses solidarity with Ukrainian exhibitors and people of the country and takes a stand against the war. The network offers a visual message prepared in several languages to be put on the big screen of the member arthouse cinemas, and lists initiatives carried out by them (read more).

Giornate degli Autori embraces wholeheartedly the position of La Biennale di Venezia with regard to the tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine, feeling it is right to take a common stand, one that is straightforward and unequivocal, and which clearly distinguishes between respect for artists' freedom of expression and any official initiatives taken regarding the institutions of the Russian Federation (read more).

Unifrance confirms its support to the Ukrainian people (read more).

The Stockholm International Film Festival stands with Ukraine and announces the country as the centre of this year's edition's focus (read more).

The Series Mania Festival has selected Ukrainian film producer Julia Sinkevych as the jury president for its International Competition. The festival will take place from 18-25 March in Lille, France. Given that she is a Kyiv resident, Sinkevych’s presence in Lille is not guaranteed at this point (read more).

Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival has postponed their 19th edition, scheduled to run March 25 - April 3, and calls for international help (read more).

Kyiv IFF Molodist has suspended any preparations for its 51st edition, planned for 28 May - 5 June, and calls international community to action (read more).

Cannes' parallel sections Critics' Week, the Directors’ Fortnight and the ACID join the Cannes Film Festival in expressing their solidarity for the Ukranian people, fighting today for their freedom (read more).

International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the trade body representing the interests of cinema operators across 39 European territories, has today issued a statement expressing its solidarity not just with Ukrainian exhibitors but also the Ukrainian people as they look to repel the attack on their country by Russian forces (read more).

EFAD members affirm that they stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people following the invasion of Ukraine which violates the territorial integrity of a sovereign nation (read more).

European Women's Audiovisual Network, strongly condemn the criminal actions of Putin's regime. We stand for all filmmakers who are opposing the criminal regime in Russia regardless of their nationality, because we are one nation: the film nation, the freedom of expression nation (read more).

The Festival de Cannes "wishes to extend all its support to the people of Ukraine and all those who are in its territory. Unless the war of assault ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that we will not welcome official Russian delegations nor accept the presence of anyone linked to the Russian government" (read more).

La Biennale di Venezia has "manifested its full support to the Ukrainian people and to its artists, and express its firm condemnation of the unacceptable military aggression by Russia. For those who oppose the current regime in Russia there will always be a place in the exhibitions of La Biennale. As long as this situation persists, La Biennale will therefore not accept the presence at any of its events of official delegations, institutions or persons tied in any capacity to the Russian government." (read more).

The Executive Committee of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) express "their deep concern for the wellbeing of their colleagues at the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Kyiv, their families and friends, as well as for the safety of the unique collections and the premises of this important cultural institution, following the latest dramatic events in Ukraine" (read more).

AFIC (Association of Italian Film Festivals) expresses solidarity to the citizens of Ukraine, and in particular to the festivals and theatres of this splendid country which is experiencing dramatic days of war, instability and suffering (read more).

The Estonian film industry calls for boycott of films from warring Russia and Belarus (read more).

The Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the Slovak Film Commission express full solidarity with the country, people, and institutions of Ukraine, following its non-acceptable invasion by Russian Armed Forces (read more).

The European Film Academy (EFA) has issued "an unequivocal condemnation" of President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, excluded Russia from the European Film Awards and joins the Ukrainian Film Academy in a boycott of Russian films (read more).

The members of the Ukrainian Film Academy, on behalf of the society of Ukrainian film professionals and cultural figures, call for a boycott of Russian cinematography (read more).

The Ukrainian FIPRESCI branch asks members of FIPRESCI "to abstain from participating in any film or other event organised, hosted or funded, directly or indirectly, by the Russian Federation. We urge you not to take part online or otherwise in any film festivals and cultural forums in the Russian state" (read more).

The Belarusian film community has issued a statement in which it "strongly condemns the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. We are outraged that the Russian aggressor uses our territory for launching deadly missiles into Ukraine" (read more).

The international documentary community of filmmakers and film professionals stands with the Ukrainian people and asks that the response of the international community will be adequate (read more).

Over 250 film professionals and institutions across the world, including producers, distributors, festivals, directors, publicists, journalists, cinematographers and other industry professionals, reply to Ukrainian filmmakers’ call not to remain silent in the face of Russia’s invasion (read more).

Federation of European Screen Directors (FERA) representatives said: “We stand in full solidarity with the Ukrainian people, with our colleagues, relatives and friends in Ukraine, as well as those opposing the conflict in Russia and Belarus, amidst a dangerous and uncertain situation following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army." (read more)

The Berlinale team stated: “We – festival workers, artists, filmmakers… – think fondly of our friends in Ukraine, and we are by their side in a call for peace." (read more)

The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) stands by the Ukrainian film community and is ready to take concrete steps to help, such as an emergency fund to support Ukrainian filmmakers (read more).

Ukrainian filmmakers Oleh Sentsov, Valentyn Vasyanovych, Maryna Er Gorbach, Nataliia Vorozhbyt, Iryna Tsilyk and Nariman Aliev, and executive director of the Ukrainian Film Academy and the Odesa International Film Festival Anna Machukh are appealing to the international audience not to be silent and not to stand aside, and asking for help and certain actions that can help Ukraine regain peace (read more).

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