In light of the tragic events currently occurring in Ukraine by force of the Russian military, governments and major companies across Europe have been showing their support for the European country by imposing sanctions on Russia and restricting cultural privileges. The likes of Spotify, Apple and Netflix have already pulled their products from availability in the country, with plenty more following suit.
Several European film festivals are also showing their support for Ukraine by elevating movies from the country, showcasing the undiscovered talents of the country. Whilst the likes of the Stockholm and Glasgow film festivals are boycotting Russian state-funded movies, the influential Venice film festival recently helped to screen Valentyn Vasynovych’s Reflection, a Ukrainian movie set during the war in Donbass in 2014.
In addition to these festivals, Switzerland’s Visions du Réel docs festival has announced that its selections will comprise of at least four works made in Ukraine. Included in this selection is the award-winning film A House Made Of Splinters by Simon Lereng Wilmont.
This support from international film festivals comes after the Ukrainian Film Academy called for an international boycott of Russian culture, with filmmakers such as Roman Bondarchuk, Valentyn Vasyanovych and Nariman Aliev releasing statements on the matter.
“Ukrainians are defending their freedom and right to exist,” Bondarchuk, the director of Volcano wrote in a statement obtained by The Guardian, adding: “We need help. It is necessary to limit the influence of Russian culture in the world. Culture prepared the ideological basis for this war…Help Ukraine survive this war”.
Elevating Ukrainian art whilst continuing to repress Russian-backed filmmaking, expect many other film festivals across Europe to follow in the path of Stockholm, Glasgow, Venice and more.