The world of culture has joined the actions against Russia as a measure of protest and pressure for the invasion of Ukraine. In this regard, the European Film Academy (EFA) has taken a step forward and announced in a statement that “it has joined the massive global sanctions currently in force against Russia and fully supports the appeal of the Ukrainian Film Academy to boycott Russian cinema”. For this reason, the EFA “has decided to exclude Russian films from its awards this year.”
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“The Academy strongly condemns the war started by Russia: Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory must be respected. Putin’s actions are appalling and totally unacceptable and we strongly condemn them,” they continue in the statement, where he expresses concern about “the fate of the Ukrainians.” “Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian film community. We are fully aware that several of our members are fighting with arms against the aggressor. Therefore, the Academy will exclude Russian films from this year’s European Film Awards and we support every element of the boycott.”
The European Film Academy wanted to make it clear that the institution is “a place to support and unite all filmmakers who share our belief in human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights “We recognize and appreciate those brave filmmakers in Russia who oppose this war. But in the face of a brutal and unjustified attack, we have to stand with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine whose lives are in danger.” They have also recognized that “this reaction should have come at an earlier time in the last few days”, but that they should follow their democratic processes.
“While they were taking place, the European Film Academy, in parallel and working quietly behind the scenes, has managed to raise funds and create support structures. Therefore, we take this opportunity to unequivocally express our protest against this abominable war and to reaffirm and reiterate our complete and total solidarity with the heroic people of Ukraine.”
Cannes prohibits (but not completely)
The Cannes Film Festival has also acted and has advanced that, “unless the war ends in conditions that are satisfactory to the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that no Russian delegation will be welcomed nor will the presence of anyone linked to the government be accepted Russian”. They have communicated it in a press release and thus join the measures taken by the European Film Academy, which has also announced today that Russian films will not be able to compete in its awards this year.
The ban will not be for all Russian directors, but from Cannes they have already made it clear that “they salute the courage of those in Russia who are risking themselves to protest against the invasion of Ukraine.” “Among them are artists and film professionals who have never stopped fighting the current regime and who cannot be associated with these unbearable actions and those who are bombing Ukraine.” He refers to dissident authors such as Kirill Serebrennikov, who with his last two films (Leto and Petrov’s Flu) has competed for the Palme d’Or, although he could not attend the contest since he is prohibited from leaving the country due to his criticism of Putin.
The contest statement makes it clear that they remain “faithful to its history that began in 1939 in resistance to the fascist and Nazi dictatorship, the Cannes Festival will always be at the service of artists and industry professionals who raise their voices to denounce violence, repression and injustice, with the main objective of defending peace and freedom”.