Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker and activist whose latest feature was the 2021 Venice premiere Rhino, has released a full statement from the frontline of the war backing the boycott of Russian cinema. Scroll down to read it.
The director, who spent five years in a Russian jail on terror charges that Amnesty International described as fabricated, including time on hunger strike, is joining the call for a “boycott of Russian cinematography in all dimensions, including film cooperation: co-production, distribution and festivals.”
As Deadline has previously reported, the idea of a boycott is splitting opinion in the international film community – some believe that as much pressure possible must be put on the Russian government from all corners, while others suggest the idea of punishing Russian filmmakers who have been critical of the Putin regime is unjust.
Earlier today, producer Denis Ivanov, whose credits include Sentsov’s Rhino, was the latest figure to release an impassioned statement backing the boycott, which was first proposed by the Ukrainian Film Academy.
As a reservist volunteer, Sentsov is now actively fighting the Russian invasion, as are many notable figures in the country. On Monday, the director posted a video online detailing his efforts countering the invasion:
Here’s Sentsov’s statement:
My name is Oleg Sentsov. I am a Ukrainian film director. In 2014, I was unlawfully imprisoned in Russia and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment for fighting against Putin regime and annexation of Crimea. Back then, the whole film industry stood up to support me. And I am immensely grateful for it. Now I’m asking you to support my country.
Exactly two weeks ago, my movie, which I shot after I was out, was released in Ukraine. For a week now, I have been standing in the trenches as a participant of the territorial defence of Kyiv, which is a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Life has changed in an instant with the fall of the first bomb on the territory of Ukraine. Everything we knew about Hitler’s invasion has now become real again.
My motherland is mercilessly shelled from the land, sea and air. Russian bombs are falling on Ukrainian children. Millions are sitting in bomb shelters. Millions are suffering from being cold and lacking food. My country is being ruined, but our spirit is strong. We are going to fight until our victory.
For this, we need your support. The support of intellectuals and artists who oppose Putin’s bloody regime. People who value human life more than anything. I request your support for the boycott of Russian cinematography in all dimensions, including film cooperation: co-production, distribution and festivals, as requested by the Ukrainian Film Academy. Please sign the petition!
Stand with Ukraine!
We will stop Putin together!
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.