A lot of festival selectors, film professionals and cultural managers simply do not understand what is happening in Ukraine. The war of provocation and aggression by the Russians has turned into a war of independence and a war for basic human rights and values. While Russian terrorists are targeting civilians and children, Ukrainians are fighting for their lives, for their children’s lives, and for their own inalienable rights: to live in safety, to be free, and to dare to pursue happiness.
Putin’s terrorist army is now carrying out a genocide of Ukrainians. And the world is watching live, via all reputable news outlets and social media.
It is necessary to lower a cultural curtain around Russia. Stop any cultural collaborations with representatives of a terrorist country that threatens to destroy the free world. Stop all communication with directors who continue to live in the ahistorical Soviet paradigm and promote messages poisoned by imperial ideology against a democratized world.
We have not found any information about discussions concerning reconciliation between Soviet and German artists during the Second World War. According to historians, there were none. As long as the war in Ukraine continues and as long as our loved ones are constantly in danger, there shall be no such discussions between Ukrainian and Russian artists.
Stop killing us. Stop bombing our theathers. Stop terrorizing our Babuschkas. When the killing, terrorism, and barbarism stops, then maybe we can discuss cultural dialogue. But as long as our people are terrorized, as long as our pregnant women lose their unborn babies, as long as our children live in terror, we want no collaboration. We understand who our enemies are.
Most of the Russian “opposition” directors can work only because they were allowed to work by Putin’s regime. They have their roles in the plays, state-sanctioned, written, directed, and controlled by the Kremlin. Presentation of their work at film festivals has a propagandistic aim to falsely show that Russia is part of the so-called civilized world. Inside Russia, each participation of a film in a film festival would be a sign that “business as usual” is possible, even in the times of mass murder of Ukrainian civilians.
The only choice for Russian filmmakers who want to enjoy an artistic life abroad is to refuse to represent their country in international events. Stand up and talk back. Do not listen to the Kremlin–– they are lying to you and using you as cultural propaganda.
Whose side are you on? Show us. Tell the world. Tell yourself. Tell your comrades. Otherwise we have no interest in dialogue, no interest in collaboration, and no interest in your work.
The time has come to find out about the history and culture of Ukraine, about life and thoughts of Ukrainian citizens and the reason we continue, despite all odds, to stand against Russian invaders.
Ukrainian film professionals have now gone to the army, or are helping as volunteers, or taking cover from Russian missiles in shelters, or evacuating their families from the war zone.
Their “artistic expression” is limited by these circumstances. On behalf of them, we are asking for support. Boycott Russian cinema at all international film festivals and cultural events and all international organizations.
No more “business as usual” with Putin’s Russia.