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Ukrainian Filmmakers Call for Solidarity Following Russian Invasion, Warn of Global Threat

Anna Machukh Oleg Sentsov
Anna Machukh, Oleg Sentsov

A group of prominent Ukrainian filmmakers has called for the world to wake up to the threat posed to democracy following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Eastern European country on Thursday.

An open letter was circulated Friday by filmmakers including: Oleh Sentsov, director of “Rhino”; Valentyn Vasyanovych, director of “Reflection” and “Atlantis”; Maryna Er Gorbach, director of “Klondike”; Anna Machukh, executive director of the Ukrainian Film Academy and OIFF; Natalia Vorozhbyt, director of ‘Bad Roads”; Iryna Tsilyk, director of “The Earth is Blue as an Orange”; and Nariman Aliev, director of “Homeward.”

“Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. Now, more than ever, we need the help of the international community and anyone who understands that tomorrow war may be at your door. We’ve talked about the war in eastern Ukraine in our films for 8 years. You watched them at the festivals. But this is not a film, but our reality. And today this reality has spread throughout our country without exception,” the group said in their letter circulated to international media.

“Ukrainian cinematographers appeal to you not to be silent, not to stand aside and [take] certain actions that can help Ukraine regain peace,” they said.

They suggest that the international community listen to the needs of Ukraine’s politicians, apply economic sanctions against Russia and most significantly fight an information war. In this they appear to endorse the adage that ‘truth is the first casualty in any war.’

“The most important thing you can do now for Ukraine is to read and disseminate verified information about what is happening,” they said, attaching a list of “operative, truthful information” about Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“When I’m telling about support, I mean not only the sanctions or other actions of the leaders of our allies. We also need information support. It is important to understand that Putin built a kingdom of false mirrors where white is called black and vice versa,” said Tsilyk.

Vorozhbyt detailed her family’s activities, both mundane and extraordinary, and her disbelief as Russian tanks drew closer to capital city Kyiv. “We took chairs, candles and water to the basement. I allowed my daughter to swear, because she was scared. My ex-husband enlisted in the army,” she wrote “We live in the center of Europe, in the 21st century, in Ukraine. Our closest neighbors are Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Baltics, Romania. Near Germany, France, Italy, etc – we [can] go there by car. This is not just our war.”

“It will affect every European. It can destroy our world. Your participation, support and help are very much needed now. As well as your speeches, protests, money, weapons, sanctions. I call on the world to unite against Putin’s Russia.”