Russian films will not be considered for this year’s European Film Awards after it was announced yesterday that director Sergei Loznitsa has dropped out of the organisation.
March 1 update: Following the decision taken earlier today by the European Film Academy (EFA) to exclude Russia from the European Film Awards 2022, the Ukrainian director who initially protested against the EFA’s inaction, Sergei Loznitsa, now declares that Russian filmmakers themselves should not be targeted.
“When I hear these calls today to ban Russian films, I think of those (filmmakers) who are good people. They are victims like us of this aggression,” Loznitsa said in a statement obtained by Variety.
“In February 2022, when Russian soldiers had just started invading Ukraine, the very first message I received was from my friend Viktor Kossakovsky, a Russian filmmaker who said, ‘Forgive me. This is a disaster. I’m so ashamed.’ Later that day, Andrey Zvyagintsev, who is still weakened by a long illness, recorded his message in a video,” Loznitsa said.
“What is happening before our eyes is horrible, but I ask you not to fall into madness. We should not judge people based on their passports. They can be judged by their actions. A passport is linked to where we are born, while an act is what a human being does voluntarily.
March 1 update: The European Film Academy (EFA) released a statement on March 1 officially excluding Russia from the 2022 European Film Awards.
“The Academy strongly condemns the war started by Russia – Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory must be respected,” said a statement shared with IndieWire. “Putin’s actions are atrocious and totally unacceptable, and we strongly condemn them.”
The letter continues: “What concerns us most is the fate of Ukrainians, and our hearts go out to the Ukrainian film community. We are fully aware that many of our members are fighting with arms against the aggressor. The Academy will therefore exclude Russian films from this year’s European Film Awards and we support every element of the boycott.
The EFA also acknowledged that “this reaction should have come sooner”, according to director Sergei Loznitsa’s criticism of the EFA’s initial response.
“But our democratic processes had to be followed,” the EFA said. “While these have taken place, the European Film Academy has, in parallel and working discreetly behind the scenes, succeeded in raising funds and setting up support structures.”
The EFA concluded: “We therefore take this opportunity to unequivocally express our protest against this abominable war and to reconfirm and reiterate our total and total solidarity with the heroic people of Ukraine.”
Posted on February 28: Director Sergei Loznitsa has criticized the European Film Academy (EFA) for its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Loznitsa expressed his criticism in an open letter published on February 28 on Daily screenbefore leaving the Academy.
“What a shameful text has been generated by the European Film Academy! “We are very concerned about the invasion of Ukraine,” Loznitsa wrote, citing an email that EFA Director Matthijs Wouter Knol previously sent to The Hollywood Reporter on Feb. 24. “You state in your address that there are 61 Ukrainian members in your ranks. Well, as of today, there are only 60. I don’t need you ‘to be vigilant and stay in contact me’, thank you very much!
The EFA previously issued a statement: “On behalf of the community of over 4,200 members of the European Film Academy, we would like to express our solidarity with you.”
European cinema “has always been shaped by important values [of] human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law and human rights,” EFA added. “As an Academy and through our work, we strongly uphold these values and protest against any violation [of them]. Rest assured that we are behind you, supporting your work in the best possible way.
EFA President Mike Downey told The Hollywood Reporter in an email Feb. 24 that while “moral outrage prevails” over Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine, “this is not so useful at the moment”. Downey added: “It’s a bit too early to respond with action, but we are monitoring the situation with our board, as well as colleagues from border countries like Poland, to see how we can all work together. together to provide practical support to all Ukrainian filmmakers who may need it.”
In his open letter, “Donbass” director Loznitsa condemned the EFA’s lax response, writing: “For four days in a row, the Russian army has been devastating Ukrainian towns and villages, killing Ukrainian citizens . Is it really possible that you, humanists, defenders of human rights and dignity, champions of freedom and democracy, are afraid to call a war a war, to condemn barbarism and to express your protest?
Loznitsa continued that “there can no longer be any doubt about one thing: the European Film Academy was established in 1989 to put its head in the sand and avert the catastrophe unfolding in Europe.”
Loznitsa recently told IndieWire that “as far as the Ukrainians are concerned, the war has already been going on for eight years. Somehow, psychologically, Ukrainians have almost gotten used to this situation of living in potentially dangerous war conditions.
Loznitsa’s 2018 film “Donbass”, which represented Ukraine in the international Oscar race (it failed to make the top five), featured a series of 13 vignettes about corruption and suffering in the origin of daily life in Ukraine. A prologue includes actors hired to provide false testimony after the bombings, with families rushing to bomb shelters and a Ukrainian POW being attacked by separatists.
“The nature of the conflict has nothing to do with nationality,” Loznitsa said. “It’s Soviet versus anti-Soviet, not Russia versus Ukraine. It’s really about the conflict between the past and the present. Now, finally, everyone sees it.
Loznitsa also offers a glimpse of what the world will look like if Putin succeeds: “People will be subjected to the same kind of corruption – moral and mental – as they did during the Iron Curtain,” the director said. “The most important thing that happens during these times is what happens to people’s morals, as they become comfortable doing bad things, just like what the authorities do to them.”