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EXCLUSIVE: Trailer, clips and poster for Tribeca entry Under the Grey Sky


- The debut by Polish-Belarusian filmmaker Mara Tamkovich is inspired by the real life of a journalist currently serving an eight-year sentence due to repression in stifling Belarus

EXCLUSIVE: Trailer, clips and poster for Tribeca entry Under the Grey Sky
Aliaksandra Vaitsekhovich in Under the Grey Sky

Belarus, 2020. Mass protests follow the elections rigged by Lukashenko. Anti-regime journalist Lena livestreams the brutal crackdown on a peaceful demonstration and is tracked down by a police drone. Nevertheless, she continues the broadcast and is arrested. Lena’s husband, Ilya, prepares an emergency evacuation abroad, but the system has no intention of letting her go. Lena and Ilya must face unbearable choices in an attempt to survive and remain true to themselves, as the regime is determined to break them both. The film is inspired by the true story of Belarusian journalists Igor Ilyash and Katsiaryna Andreyeva, who was arrested in November 2020 and is still serving her eight-year sentence.

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This is the synopsis of Polish-Belarusian filmmaker Mara Tamkovich's debut film, Under the Grey Sky [+see also:
film review
interview: Mara Tamkovich
film profile
, which is having its world premiere in the International Narrative Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, taking place from 5-16 June.

On 15 November 2020, Katsiaryna Andreyeva (a journalist for the Belsat TV channel) was broadcasting the ongoing political protests in Minsk. Katsiaryna and her camerawoman (Darya Chultsova) were spotted by a police drone and subsequently arrested. They were sentenced to seven days of administrative detention. However, prior to their release, new criminal charges were brought against them. On 18 February 2021, they were sentenced to two years of imprisonment for allegedly organising a riot. Darya was released in 2022, having served her full sentence. Katsiaryna faced another charge, this time for high treason. The details of this charge were kept secret, and she was found guilty during a closed trial. She was sentenced to a total of eight years and three months' imprisonment following her second conviction. Katsiaryna’s husband (Igor Iljash, an independent journalist and commentator) was also taken into custody several times after his wife’s arrest. A few days after her arrest, he was sentenced to 15 days in prison for allegedly participating in a protest. A second arrest, several months later, resulted in criminal proceedings against him. Despite being harassed by the Belarusian state services, Igor didn’t leave the country. He stands by his wife and, as much as possible, helps her to survive.

"What I am looking for in my characters is that human perspective of how to survive the terror and remain true to yourself. What can a single person have to oppose the system? I am not interested in painting an idolised picture of a righteous fight, but rather to look for that something that does not allow my characters to give up despite the overwhelming power of the system, because that is where hope lies," Mara Tamkovich explains.

The Polish-Belarusian director and scriptwriter worked as a journalist for independent Belarusian TV and radio broadcasting from abroad to deliver uncensored information to Belarusians. Before this debut feature, her short films were shown at numerous festivals in Poland and abroad, receiving several awards.

Under the Grey Sky was produced by Katarzyna Ocioszyńska for Media Corporation, with the support of the Polish Film Insitute. France's Loco Films is managing its world sales.

Check our exclusive trailer, clips and poster below:

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