“We — festival workers, artists, filmmakers — think fondly of our friends in Ukraine and we are by their side in a call for peace,” the festival said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“One week ago, the Berlin International Film Festival was celebrating a complicated yet successful edition. Filmmakers, artists and journalists from all over the world gathered in Berlin to enjoy a collective and joyful experience. The feeling of being together again, with no distinctions of nationality, religion, or culture, transported us in a way that film festivals can accomplish,” the statement added.
“While these memories remain fresh, other images have broken into our lives, bringing a darker perspective. The world is on a verge of a huge crisis. As a showcase of the free world, the Berlinale has always put at its centre the notion of freedom and the will to bridge East and West.”
The statement pointed out that the festival has, through its history, showcased films relating to Ukrainian history and culture. This included 2022 selection, Maryna El Gorbach’s “Klondike,” set in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, where fighting is taking place on the nearby Russian-Ukrainian border in 2014. The festival also showed “Terykony” by Taras Tomenko, Oleg Sentsov’s “Numbers” in 2020, the films of Kira Muratova and the early short films of Myroslav Slaboshpytsky.
“Films cannot change the society and the course of history, but they can help in changing the minds of people. Films are telling us that the world is already in a too precarious condition to add even more suffering and destruction,” the statement concluded.