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Ukrainians demand total ban of Russia at Cannes Film Festival

Anadolu Agency LIFE
Published May 19,2022

Ukraine's filmmakers demanded Thursday that organizers of the Cannes Film Festival completely boycott Russia from the international event.

Andrew Fesiak, the founder of F Films, spoke at a panel hosted at the American pavilion at Marche du Film section and said Ukrainians at the festival strongly felt that "anything and everything Russian must be canceled," according to a report by BFMTV news.

The decision to include Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov's movie, Tchaikovsky's Wife, for the Palme d'Or has incensed Ukrainian filmmakers. The movie premiered Wednesday and Serebrennikov urged an end to the Ukraine war.

Andriy Khalpakhchi, director of the Ukrainian Cinema Foundation and the Kyiv International Film Festival, claimed Serebrennikov funded the file with "black money" from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by the European Union for being a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

To support Ukraine and Ukrainians reeling from the Russian military operation, Cannes organizers excluded the official Russian delegation or any figures linked to the Kremlin.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux, however, defended the idea of welcoming Russian dissidents like Serebrennikov who left Russia as he did not want to be complicit in the war, according to BFMTV news.

The Ukraine war has cast a shadow on the high-profile film festival. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a video appearance at the opening ceremony on Tuesday and Thursday he saw a special screening of "Mariupolis 2," a documentary by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed in Donbas last month -- reportedly by Russian forces. The festival will run until May 28.