The Stockholm Film Festival, due to run November 9-20, says it will not program any films that benefit from Russian state funding due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“That decision is regrettable but a necessary mark in a time like this. Russia’s actions are unacceptable,” said Beatrice Karlsson, program coordinator of the Stockholm Film Festival. The event added that the decision would stand as long as the current war is ongoing.
The fest has also chosen Ukraine as its focus nation this year, meaning it will host a program of film screenings, director visits and seminars related to Ukrainian cinema.
“The focus on Ukraine this year is a direct consequence of the unacceptable Russian invasion and the terrible war being waged in this now,” wrote the event in a statement today. “The festival wants to shed light on the uncertain future that the Ukrainian film industry is now facing and Ukraine needs all the support we can show and contribute to.”
The decision also joins up nicely with the fact that Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov won Stockholm’s Best Film prize at last year’s event with his latest feature Rhino.
Organizers said that Sentsov would be invited to this year’s fest having been unable to attend last year due to Covid, and published a reply it said was from the filmmaker responding to the news: “We appreciate your support and position. We look forward visiting Stockholm after the victory, says Oleg Sentsov currently positioned at the frontline.”
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