EXCLUSIVE: The Ukrainian Institute has lambasted the organizers of a prestigious German filmmaker residency program for inviting Russians and Belarusians to participate in addition to Ukrainians, slamming the emergency program for the “perpetuation of each an outdated Soviet perspective and Russia’s colonial logic.”
In a letter despatched by Ukrainian Institute Director Common Volodymyr Sheiko in July, Sheiko urged Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB), the organizer of the emergency program for “refugee and endangered filmmakers,” to “body the residency program another way and as an alternative acknowledge that Ukrainians really feel rather more affinity with their neighbours throughout Jap and Central Europe.”
The letter was despatched twice to MBB however MBB didn’t reply to the Ukrainian Institute, Deadline understands.
A number of Ukrainian filmmakers subsequently refused to use to this system in protest, in accordance with a spokesman for the Institute, who mentioned it was “not the one initiative which was framed on this means,” including: “It’s time for all of us to rethink the place of Ukraine and Russia on this planet and the complexity of their mutual previous.”
The emergency residency program opened in early July and provides €162,000 ($167,400) to 11 “refugee filmmakers from Ukraine and endangered filmmakers from Russia and Belarus” for six months. Underneath the skilled supervization of the MBB-organized prestigious Nipkow program, the filmmakers will spend the months working in Germany and networking with the native movie trade. Ordinarily, Nipkow is open to all writers, administrators, producers and animators, who submit characteristic movie mission concepts and are given assist with their scripts.
Whereas thanking MBB for “your efforts in supporting filmmakers in Ukraine who’ve suffered from Russia’s brutal invasion,” Sheiko’s letter mentioned treating Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians as a part of the identical group is “not solely ethically questionable and insensitive towards Ukrainians however, extra basically, perpetuates an ideological assemble of ‘three brotherly peoples’ that originated within the Russian Empire and was later cemented by Soviet historiography.”
“It’s the idea of the ‘three brotherly peoples’ that had been utilized by the Soviet regime as an excuse to homogenize the cultures of the three international locations, which de facto meant the pressured Russification of Ukraine and Belarus,” added the letter.
“Whereas Western academia and cultural establishments have been invested in decolonizing historical past and our information of the world for the previous many years, uniting Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine underneath the identical umbrella is a perpetuation of each an outdated Soviet perspective and Russia’s colonial logic.”
The letter went on to say that forcing Ukrainians into joint tasks with Russians “unwillingly prolongs the colonial violence Ukrainians have suffered for hundreds of years.”
Whereas MBB didn’t reply on the time, CEO Kirsten Niehuus advised Deadline this system was framed in such a means as a result of “Berlin understands itself as a metropolis of freedom,” including that there’s “no obligation to satisfy or cooperate with different filmmakers of the identical or different international locations.”
“Town provides refuge to filmmakers whose existence is threatened by warfare or who’re politically persecuted by autocratic regimes with no democratic authorized system,” she added.
The controversy comes after a number of main movie festivals have needed to grapple with their method to Russian movies and filmmakers. Russian dissident filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov’s Tchaikovsky’s Spouse was the one Russian movie that made it to Cannes, for instance, a transfer that was broadly debated as a result of pic’s hyperlinks with Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.