How Ukrainian Filmmakers In Cannes Are Making Their Voices Heard: “We Have To Speak Loudly Through Cinema”

Ukrainian filmmakers are here Cannes And, in the words of poet Dylan Thomas, they will not be gentle. While some are here to promote the films to be screened at Cannes, many are here to support their country and ensure that their voices are not forgotten as media headlines about the Russian invasion dwindle. Looks like

For many, it’s a strange paradox to walk around the sunny shores of Cannes at a film festival that feels lively and full of life, a festival where only fighter jets kick off Tom Cruise. Top Gun: Maverick When their home country is being ravaged by war.

“It’s so weird to be here,” says Bosonfilm’s Alexandra Kostina, producer of the Directors’ Fortnight entry. pamphiro, which premiered last night. Speaking to Deadline in the Village International, she watches a bunch of delegates walk barefoot on the beach before saying, “It’s hard to understand how life continues in the rest of the world when our world has completely changed.” It’s gone and never will be again. It’s so unreal.”

their director, Dmitro Sukholitkya-Sobchuko feels the same.

“It’s amazing to be here and play my feature at the festival, but it doesn’t relate to my reality,” he says a few hours before the premiere. pamphiroA drama about a man who confronts small-town corruption in a Western Ukraine, “My reality is my country and it is in the midst of a terrible war.”

He says that he is sleeping well every night when he has come back to the festival. “You know why?” he asks. “Because I can’t hear the fighter planes and the airstrikes. It’s safe here in Cannes. When my alarm on my phone goes off it’s not the alarm I get on our phones in Ukraine that warns civilians of air strikes .

Maxim Nakonechny says that being here is like being in a “parallel universe”. director’s film butterfly sight, about a young female soldier who returns home after being held captive for months, only to find she is pregnant after being raped by her warden, playing next week in Un Certain Regard. He shows me tattoos on his fingers with the Ukranian coat of arms and Cyrillic letters with “freedom” and “will” on each arm.

But what becomes clear soon after meeting these filmmakers is that they are continuing the good fight and they want everyone here at Cannes to know it.

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Sukholitkya-Sobchuk is particularly concerned with the statements made at the press conference by Kirill Serebrennikov for his Palme d’Or contender Tchaikovsky’s wifeWhere the Russian dissident claimed that Russian citizens are also victims whose lives have been affected by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“His words will be used very well in Russian propaganda,” he says. “If you invite someone [to a festival] Even if they are dissatisfied, they are an instrument of Russian propaganda, albeit a shrewd and brilliant genius. Russian citizens will protect their citizens. And making the attacker a victim for him, that’s a big lie.”

Nakonechnyi is clear that he thinks the film’s inclusion is completely deaf, given that the Russian musician’s family comes from Ukrainian heritage. “I would ask the festival if it is really time to screen a film about a musician whose family was born on the territory of modern Ukraine, in a city that has now been destroyed by the Russian army? Is it timely enough to release such a film without mentioning it or being aware of the context? The answer is no.”

He admits that there is good intention in supporting dissidents and those fighting against the regime “but when he says it is Russians who need aid, not Ukrainians, whose women are being raped by Russian soldiers and Whose children are being abused, it makes me wonder why someone who is considered anti-government would send messages that are useful to governance?”

Polish-born director Agnieszka Holland, who is also president of the European Film Academy, has also condemned the Cannes Film Festival for involving the Roman Abramovich-funded project, telling delegates at the Cannes Industry Roundtable, ” If it were up to me, I would not include Russian films in the official program of the festival – even if Kirill Serebrennikov is such a talented artist.”

He said that his “bad feelings” were confirmed by Serebrennikov’s “bad words”: “He used [the film festival’s press conference] Praising a Russian oligarch and comparing the tragedy of Russian soldiers to Ukrainian defenders. I will not give him such a chance at this time.”

Kostina initially fled to Kyiv in a village in the Donbass with her husband and 7-year-old daughter, who were chosen to volunteer at a hospital for premature babies fired by Russian missiles. “These kids had nothing—no towels, bedding, pillows, nothing,” she says. “We did everything possible to help them because they have such complex conditions and are in special need of medicine and other things.”

The producer is currently living with her family in Hollande’s home in France pamphiro Co-producer Claudia Smiezza helped build the relationship. She is also using her time in Cannes to actively seek financial aid and opportunities for Ukraine from the European region. Kostina says that because public funding for Ukrainian filmmakers has dried up since February 24, it means the country’s filmmakers have little hope of continuing their work until other European funding bodies tap Ukraine. do not encourage. She is meeting with the European commissioner to see what can be done to advance the Ukrainian filmmaker’s efforts.

“I don’t know what to do if we won’t have the ability to do the job,” she says. “It is understandable that our government will not support us right now because of course we need to rebuild hospitals, we need to take care of people who need care, and we need to rebuild the country. So, from one side, this is not the time to finance the culture, but on the other hand if we don’t rebuild our culture, we don’t rebuild our country because these two are intertwined and intertwined. Has happened.”

She adds, “We know how to produce, we know how to develop our projects so that the world is interested but without the support of local funds we cannot move forward. We need opportunities to access European funds, even just development money, because without it there is no hope for Ukrainian filmmakers today. We’re not asking for handouts – we want to do the work.”

Nakonechnyi agrees that access to funding is impossible as an independent filmmaker in wartime situations.

“I don’t want to demand anything, but we are here because we are victims, and we have to remind international society of the principles they claim and ask them to abide by international law.”

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The director insisted that the war was not the one that began on February 24, but the one Ukraine has been dealing with since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. This was while editing the documentary. invisible battalionWho Documented Female Ukrainian Soldiers When They Got Their Inspiration butterfly sight,

“The experiences of the female soldier impressed me greatly,” he says. “His optics, his approach to war and what is happening to his role in the war were very impressive.”

In the documentary, a female soldier talks about the deal she made with her fellow soldiers: if she was ever taken hostage by Russian soldiers, she wanted her fellow soldiers to kill her when she had the opportunity.

“It impressed me a lot, so I thought about what could be more scary than a female soldier in captivity and that is how the idea came up for the film,” he says. It was a difficult shoot that was hit by Kovid and the attack started in February. The location had to be changed when Russian troops started gathering at the border.

While most delegates from the Cannes Film Festival will return to their homes and families, exhausted after a week of film-watching and bargaining, the future for these Ukrainians is not so certain. Both Sukholitkya-Sobchuk and Nakonechiyo will continue to document soldiers in battle, acknowledging that filmmaking is now their greatest weapon.

Sukholitkya says, “Now we have to speak loudly about it on every possible platform through our culture, our literature, our cinema because if we do not speak aloud, it will be for our enemies to kill us once again. There will be a chance.” -Sobchuk.

Nakonechnyi now knows that he and his people are forever changed, and the consequences of the war will be felt for generations to come. “Once the firing is over, it doesn’t mean the war is over,” he says. “It lasts a long time and stays with a person forever and they must learn to live with it. Martial arts, culture – affects all areas of us.”

As for Kostina, she urges the international film community not to forget about Ukraine and the filmmaking industry. He is worried that attention is being diverted and that he and his fellow countrymen and women will be forgotten.

“It’s a tragedy that’s happening every day,” she says. “It’s like we’re living a long day and it’s a nightmare. We’re just waiting for the moment we can wake up from this horror.”