The Berlin Film Festival has issued a strongly worded statement that condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but has taken a stance against boycotting filmmakers based on their origin.

“The Berlinale staunchly condemns Russia’s war of aggression, which violates international law, and expresses its solidarity with the people in Ukraine and all those who are campaigning against this war,” the festival said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Russian invasion and attacks on civilian targets such as hospitals, schools and homes have caused a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe in Ukraine. Our thoughts and sympathy are with the victims, the suffering population, and the millions who have fled Ukraine.”

“The Berlinale has developed into a setting for intercultural encounters and a platform for critical discussion of current or historical world events. Art and culture are key elements of democratic societies, and film festivals are places where artists from all over the world — regardless of their country — can showcase their work and enter into dialogue. It is only in open, creative spaces for reflection that (film) culture can continue to develop.”

On this basis, the festival has not joined the rash of boycotts against Russian-origin filmmakers.

“Even in face of the criminal Russian war of aggression, therefore, it cannot be the intention to exclude filmmakers or cultural workers from the Berlinale on the basis of their nationality, or to isolate them,” the festival said. “All too often, it is precisely their works that convey criticism of the respective regimes. Consequently, the Berlinale takes a clear stand against a general boycott of cultural works on the basis of their origin, as this would also suppress many critical voices. And the world needs those critical voices.”

State-funded projects on the other hand could be boycotted by the festival.

“It is a different matter to exclude official state institutions and, in this case, Russian institutions or delegations as well as supporting actors of the regime from participating in the Berlinale as long as the Russian government is waging this cruel war against Ukraine,” the festival said.

“The Berlin International Film Festival hopes for an early end to Russian aggression and peace for Ukraine,” the statement concluded.

Earlier, the Cannes Film Festival took a position on Russia, saying that “official Russian delegations” or “anyone linked to the Russian government” were not welcome.

Venice plans to bar Russian delegations but not independent Russian filmmakers and their works.