Actors Jeremy Irons (“House of Gucci”), Sinéad Cusack (“Wrath of the Titans”) and Greta Bellamacina (“This Sceptred Isle”) are set to take part in a charity fundraising event for Ukrainian refugees on Wednesday evening in London.

The trio are set to give readings at the event, which will also include talks by journalist Misha Glenny and historian Sir Simon Schama about Putin’s Russia.

The Kiva Cello Quartet will also play.

Funds will go to the Wonder Foundation, its Polish partners, Panorama and Pontes, and Moldovan food business incubator Katalyst, all of whom are providing services from housing and employment to food and assimilation to hundreds of Ukrainian families fleeing the war.

“An Evening for Ukraine’s Refugees” takes place in Central London on Wednesday March 30. Tickets can be purchased here.


Viktor Marunyak, the elderly subject of Roman Bondarchuk’s IDFA winner and Ukraine’s 2016 Oscar entry “Ukrainian Sheriffs,” has been kidnapped by Russian forces. Marunyak appointed himself a sheriff in his East Ukrainian village in the absence of any real police or official authorities after the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine in 2014 and kept the peace between his neighbors about stolen chickens and provided advice on life and love wherever he could.

Bondarchuk and his “Ukrainian Sheriffs” co-writer Dar’ya Averchenko got in touch with Marunyak’s daughter, who lives in Germany, when they heard the news of his abduction. They found out from her that Marunyak was initially taken away by the Russian military in mid-March. The soldiers tried to frighten Marunyak at first but then said that they just needed a place to spend the night, Averchenko told Variety. They returned with Marunyak and 25 soldiers spent the night in Marunyak’s home. The next day, the soldiers moved to the village school and cultural center.

“They didn’t touch him and told that if there are no provocations ‘we won’t oppress’ and we will leave the village soon,” Averchenko says. “But there are even more of them now, and they are no longer soldiers, but special forces.”

Matters evidently escalated after the special forces entered the village. Marukyak’s sister reported that he was kidnapped on March 21 and that on March 23 he was brought in handcuffs to his house, Averchenko says. The issue appeared to be that Marunyak is an outspoken advocate of democracy and justice.

“The occupants planted grenades at his place, told him he’ll be taken to Russian jail for this for 20 years. Marunyak answered: ‘We are in Ukraine here!’ The occupants told him: ‘There will be Russia here from April 1.” Then the Russian soldiers looted and destroyed his house, leaving his wife without any food,” says Averchenko.

“Viktor is chronically ill, but they refused to take his medicine,” Averchenko adds, saying that the situation has been brought to the attention of Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmyla Denysova and Amnesty International.


An international group of historians and journalists with leading Ukrainian media group Starlight Media have created a project called NEVERAGAIN.MEDIA, which compares the events in Russia and the actions of Vladimir Putin on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine to the situation in Nazi Germany and the actions of Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War II. The aim of the project, published in the English, Russian and Ukrainian languages, is to demonstrate using facts, that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine poses a real threat to the security of Europe and the world. The authors conclude that “Putin is almost 100% repeating Hitler’s steps and leading the world to a new global war. If the Russian dictator is not stopped in Ukraine today, the fighting will spread to Europe and the world tomorrow.”

The project is addressed to the Western media, politicians and ordinary citizens, in order to objectively analyze current events in Ukraine. The authors of the project also hope that the collected materials will reach Russians.


Argonon’s BriteSpark Films has been commissioned by U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 to make a 30-minute film about British member of parliament (MP) Johnny Mercer’s recent trip to Ukraine’s warzones.

Soldier turned filmmaker Levison Wood (whose company Blackmane Media is partnering with BriteSpark for the film) flew with Mercer and director Neil Bonner to Lviv and Kyiv to document what is happening there. The film will be broadcast under the “Dispatches” banner.

As well as documenting the evacuations of hundreds of thousands of women and children, the trio met Ukrainian resistance fighters. The filmmakers were invited to see the warzone for themselves by Ukrainian MPs.

“I want this film to communicate the amazing resilience and bravery of the people we met in Kyiv,” said Mercer. “I hope it will help my colleagues and the British public make the right decisions about how we can all support Ukraine to get through this conflict, which is our generation’s righteous fight.”

Porter, director of programmes at BriteSpark Films, said: “It’s a privilege to be collaborating with Johnny and Lev on this film. Their material, gathered in extraordinary circumstances, highlights the plight of the Ukrainian people from a totally unique perspective.”

Louisa Compton, head of news and current affairs and specialist factual and sport, added: “In this film Johnny Mercer will bring us to the frontline of the biggest story of the moment. The on the ground reporting will be invaluable both for showing British viewers the reality of life as it is right now for Ukrainian people and for documenting the damage of Putin’s war to the civilian population.”

Bonner co-directs with Erica Jenkin (“Stacey Dooley Back on The Psych Ward”) while Wood and Porter executive produce for Blackmane and BriteSpark, respectively. Compton commissioned the film for Channel 4. – K.J. Yossman


Under martial law, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has decreed that all national channels will be combined together as a round-the-clock single platform. This is part of the “unified information policy” being implemented by the country’s National Security and Defense Council.

“Establish that, in a state of war, the implementation of a unified information policy is a priority issue of national security, which is ensured by combining all national television channels, the program content of which consists mainly of information and / or information and analytical programs on a single information platform for strategic communication – round-the-clock news Marathon Single News #UArazom,” the decision states.


FIAPF, the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, has paused the accreditations of the Moscow International Film Festival and Message to Man International Film Festival until further notice, “as both are financed by the government of the Russian Federation, whose actions are in violation of international norms,” the organization said. “FIAPF concludes there is no guarantee that the operation of these festivals will fully respect the entire set of values and rules of the FIAPF accreditation program, incl. in particular to act to bring together films of the world and give priority to the promotion of films.”


Film network Crew United has launched Filmmakers-for-Ukraine, an information site where Ukrainian filmmakers and their families can find help fast. The platform has the goal of informing people in a simple and up-to-the-minute way about offers of aid coming from all European countries. Besides Ukrainian filmmakers and their families the platform is also geared towards helping disadvantaged groups and minorities in Ukraine, such as BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, Roma, people with disabilities, children, and sick and elderly people. The platform provides people in Ukraine seeking help and people who wish to offer support with information on the issues of transport, shelter, work, medical assistance, food, clothing and contacts to psychological and legal aid.

It also contains offers of assistance, fundraising campaigns, petitions and appeals from the film industry and an information page curated by film journalists containing sources of important documentary and feature films about Ukraine.


U.K. broadcasters ITV and STV and Livewire Pictures are teaming with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and the media and entertainment group Global to stage a two-hour fundraiser concert for the humanitarian appeal in Ukraine on March 29. While performers have not been announced yet, Concert for Ukraine promises to “bring together names from the world of music for a unique event spreading a message of hope and support.”

The live show will be broadcast on primetime across ITV, STV, ITV Hub and STV Player. The show is produced by Livewire Pictures. Global is joining as media partner, and retail chain Marks & Spencer will be headline sponsors for the broadcast. All sponsorship and advertising revenue generated from the broadcast of the event, which is expected to raise over £3 million ($3.9 million), will be donated by ITV to the DEC appeal.

The broadcast will combine music performances with short films recognizing the ongoing relief efforts and the plight faced by people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Viewers will be able to donate money to the cause throughout the evening.

ITV recently supported the DEC appeals for the Afghanistan crisis in Dec. 2021. Additionally, ITV has raised £60 million for Soccer Aid for UNICEF’s global work since the show began.

Katie Rawcliffe, head of entertainment commissioning at ITV, said “Music is a very powerful tool when it comes to showing support and solidarity, and at ITV we are proud and privileged to be working with Livewire Pictures, Global, M&S and the DEC on such an important and necessary fundraising event.”

Bobby Hain, MD of Broadcast at STV, said: “We’ve seen time and time again that the generosity of STV viewers knows no bounds. As the crisis in Ukraine continues to intensify at an alarming rate, this event will be an opportunity for our audiences to come together through the power of music, show our whole-hearted support for Ukraine, and help make a difference to those affected through the work of DEC charities.”

Saleh Saeed, chief executive of the DEC, added: “Funds raised by this concert will make a real difference to those affected by the conflict, sending a strong message of love and enabling DEC charities to help now with urgent aid as well as helping to rebuild lives in the months and years ahead.”


CPH: DOX (March 23-Apr. 3) has added three more titles to its special program of Ukraine films. “The Earth is Blue as an Orange” (Iryna Tsilyk/Ukraine-Lithuania), “Maidan” (Sergei Loznitsa/Ukraine-The Netherlands) and “This Rain Will Never Stop” (Alina Gorlova/Ukraine-Germany-Latvia) join “A House Made of Splinters” (Simon Lereng Wilmont/Denmark-Ukraine), “Novorossiya” (Enrico Parenti and Luca Genari/Italy), “Outside” (Olha Zhurba/Ukraine-Denmark-The Netherlands) and “Treasures of Crimea” (Oeke Hoogendijk/The Netherlands) in the program.

Niklas Engstrøm, artistic director of CPH:DOX, said: “Almost three weeks have gone since Putin started his terrible invasion of Ukraine and turned our world and worldview upside down. Like everyone else, CPH:DOX is of course very concerned about the current situation in Ukraine, and therefore we have chosen to expand our program and give more space to some of the many brave Ukrainian filmmakers who in recent years have created strong and important films with the conflict as a backdrop. All our thoughts go to Ukraine and the many refugees who are currently being forced to leave their homeland.”


The upcoming Vilnius International Film Festival (March 24-April 3) has announced it will implement a total boycott of Russian cinema by refusing to screen any and all Russian films, as well as projects at its market side, in solidarity with Ukraine and welcoming the appeal made by the Ukrainian Film Academy for a total boycott.

We must do everything we can to help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine,” said the fest’s artistic director Algirdas Ramaska, who noted: “With the boycott, the festival has taken a stand without any compromise.”

“Films inspire us to define the difference between good and evil. Let’s be curious, ask ourselves what our role in this tense world is,” he added, underlining that Lithuania — which was the first Soviet republic to declare independence in 1990 — is “not afraid to speak up.”Nick Vivarelli


The San Sebastian International Film Festival has expressed solidarity with Ukraine and said it will not ban “dissident” Russian filmmakers from the festival.

“[O]ur selection processes evaluate films on an individual basis, never on the basis of their nationality, even when they come from countries with governments that violate fundamental rights, and we will continue to do so in these turbulent times,” the festival said in a statement.

“We cannot make all the citizens of a country responsible for the decisions of their governments. Often, as is the case of the thousands of Russian citizens who have taken to the streets in protest against the war, these citizens not only disagree with their government’s decisions, but also fight against them.”

“Those Russian voices that oppose the aggression committed by their country will always have a place at the San Sebastian Film Festival. We would like to end by expressing our desire for the re-establishment of international law and peaceful stability in the zone with a view to guaranteeing the wellbeing of the Ukrainian population.” – K.J. Yossman


Leading Ukrainian media organizations 1+1 media, StarLight Media, Media Group Ukraine and Inter Media Group alongside the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine and NGO Detector Media, have written an open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Vera Jourova, VP of the European Commission, calling on the ban of all Russian satellite channels in the EU and broadcast Ukrainian TV instead.

“Russian TV channels are justifying the Russian war against Ukraine in their multiple news stories, they are withholding the truth about the real scale of the military actions and their own losses, they are discrediting Ukrainian authorities and international partners, undermining with such actions democratic values and principles and questioning freedom of speech as the basis of European values, and also generating an enormous amount of fake news, thus deceiving their audience not only in the Russian Federation, but also in the EU countries and in the United States of America,” the letter said.


The Tokyo International Film Festival, which in 2019 screened Ukrainian films “Atlantis” and “The Painted Bird,” has called for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

“The Tokyo International Film Festival expresses its deep concern over this situation, in which people’s lives and their rich culture, including films, are now in jeopardy,” the festival said in a statement on March 11.

“As an organization that aims to contribute to the promotion of global friendship and culture through cinema, the Tokyo International Film Festival feels the hardships of those affected by the crisis as our own and is committed to supporting the films and art produced by them, regardless of national borders.”

“For these reasons, we strongly call for a peaceful resolution to this crisis as early as possible.”

“The Tokyo International Film Festival will explore what measures should be taken at our 35th edition in October-November this year,” the statement added.


The U.K. government has imposed sanctions on Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the owner of Premier League soccer club Chelsea FC. Abramovich had put the club up for sale recently, with net proceeds from the sale going to a charitable foundation in aid of Ukraine war victims.

Under the terms of the sanction, Abramovich sees his assets frozen, a prohibition on transactions with U.K. individuals and businesses, a travel ban and transport sanctions imposed.

“Putin’s attack on Ukraine continues & we are witnessing new levels of evil by the hour. Today the Government has announced further sanctions against individuals linked to the Russian Government. This list includes Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club,” U.K. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted on March 10.

“Our priority is to hold those who have enabled the Putin regime to account. Today’s sanctions obviously have a direct impact on Chlesea & its fans. We have been working hard to ensure the club & the national game are not unnecessarily harmed by these important sanctions,” Dorries said.

“To ensure the club can continue to compete and operate we are issuing a special licence that will allow fixtures to be fulfilled, staff to be paid and existing ticket holders to attend matches while, crucially, depriving Abramovich of benefiting from his ownership of the club.”

“I know this brings some uncertainty, but the Government will work with the league & clubs to keep football being played while ensuring sanctions hit those intended. Football clubs are cultural assets and the bedrock of our communities. We’re committed to protecting them,” Dorries added.


The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, the partnership established by the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the European Film Academy to act as the film community’s collective response to cases of filmmakers facing severe risk, has set up an emergency fund for filmmakers aimed at film practitioners directly in danger due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The fund aims to help filmmakers with small grants of €500 ($544), €1,000 or €1,500 to cover temporary relocation expenses, legal and administrative fees and other minor but necessary expenses required during the current situation. Filmmakers at risk can reach out directly to the fund through contact@icfr.international.

Financial contributions have been already pledged by Germany’s key national and regional film funding bodies and by many individual donors.


Korea’s Jeonju International Film Festival has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“As a member of our community, and the international community, which has suffered from the infringement of sovereignty, Jeonju International Film Festival strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This kind of violence cannot be justified in any circumstance,” the festival said in a statement.

“Jeonju International Film Festival strongly supports and respects Ukraine’s will to protect its sovereignty, territory, and democracy, and also supports the courage of local Russian filmmakers, artists, and people who have begun to speak out against the unilateral decision of the nation. We hope citizens in Ukraine stay safe,” the statement added.


Nordisk Film TV Denmark, a Banijay Nordic label, will produce fundraising concert Together for Ukraine, which will take place at City Hall Square in Copenhagen March 12 and will be shown on big screens across Denmark’s major cities: Aarhus, Odense, Aalborg and Esbjerg. The concert will be broadcast live on DR1 and TV 2. Well-known Danish musicians will perform and viewers will have the chance to donate funds to aid agencies both before, during and after the event.

Meanwhile, Banijay Benelux label TVBV will produce a fundraising show, in collaboration with ITV and NOS, for Giro555’s Together in Action for Ukraine campaign to be broadcast on March 7 on SBS6, RTL 4 and NPO1. Hosted by Chantal Janzen and Rob Kemps, the show will also feature Dionne Stax, Britt Dekker and Hila Noorzai.


Ukrainian actor Pasha Li was killed on March 6, during Russian shelling in Irpin. He was 33 years. Lee had enlisted in the Ukraine army’s Territorial Defense Forces. Lee was a well-known film and dubbing actor, singer and composer. He was active in Kyiv’s Koleso theater and starred in films and commercials. Film credits include Valentyn Vasyanovych’s “The Pit” (2006), Lyubomyr Levytsky’s “Shadows of Unforgotten Ancestors,” “Zvychayna sprava” (2012), also by Valentyn Vasyanovych, Oleksey Shaparev’s “The Fight Rules” (2016) and Valentyn Shpakov’s “‎Meeting of classmates” (2019) among others. One of his last works was television series “Provincial” (2021).


The Polish Film Institute has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has called for specific actions to be taken. These include asking the Council of Europe to exclude Russia from Eurimages and to terminate its co-production agreements with it, and to exclude the Russian Federation from the European Convention on Film Co-production; the International Association of the Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF) to remove the FIAPF accreditation from the International Film Festival in Moscow; producers to terminate their cooperation with economic entities of the Russian Federation and not to transfer intellectual property rights to films in the territory of the Russian Federation; distributors not to license the distribution of films in the territory of Russia; Streamers and VOD platforms to ban content on their resources which was created or co-produced by Russian filmmakers; and festivals for the exclusion of films produced by or in co-production with the Russian Federation.

“We must realize that Ukraine, as a country attacked by a ruthless aggressor, facing the incredible atrocities of the Russian Federation, is now acting as a dam against the attack on the freedom of the whole of Europe. At this unprecedented moment in human history, we must show our resolve and solidarity with the entire Ukrainian nation,” said a statement signed by Radosław Śmigulski, general director of the Polish Film Institute.

“Any support shown for Russia while its armed forces are occupying the territories of independent Ukraine is support for the criminal activities of the occupier. Maintaining neutrality at this point is also a silent consent to the destruction being done by the aggressor in our neighbours’ country,” the statement added.


A group of Ukrainian artists, musicians, gallerists and cultural activists led by Minister of Culture and Informational Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, have called on the global arts community to impose cultural sanctions against Russia.

“The Russian Federation has purposefully and maliciously violated existing international standards and agreements, using culture as part of the propaganda toolbox. Cultural sanctions will limit propaganda methods and help the Ukrainian and global media show Russian people an accurate picture of the invasion,” the group said in a statement.

Tkachenko said: “Cultural sanctions and worldwide ban of Russian art heritage will deprive the aggressor of another propaganda tool and social influence, thus encouraging the country’s all conscious influential artists to go to rallies against the war and stop Putin’s bloody policy.”

The group is asking for cancellation of all projects that involve the Russian Federation, including the ones with Russian funds; banning representatives of the Russian Federation from participation in international competitions, exhibitions, forums, music and film festivals and other cultural events; removing Russians from the supervisory boards and cultural partnerships, cancelling sponsorships and withdrawing organizational support; and eliminating coverage of Russian culture in the media.


The Czech Republic’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) will support Russian filmmakers critical of the regime but will ban anyone associated with the Russian state or governmental institutions. Via its distribution subsidiary Aerofilms, the festival will also organize special screenings of Vitaly Mansky’s “Putin’s Witnesses,” which won best documentary at KVIFF 2018, with the proceeds going to non-profit organization People in Need, which has mobilized extensive resources to support the people of Ukraine.

“The organizers of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival unambiguously condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and express their unconditional support for the country,” the festival said in a statement. “We fully support the Ukrainian people who are at the moment defending peace and democratic values in their country, among whom are many filmmakers we welcomed in Karlovy Vary in the past.”

“The Karlovy Vary film festival has always supported artists’ freedom of expression. Our country’s historical experience has taught us the importance of foreign support for cultural and artistic figures who gave the world an undistorted picture of actual conditions in our country. We want to be open to all artists whose work and public positions stand for democratic values and principles.”

“We know that many Russian filmmakers have long been critical of the situation in Russia and of their country’s official policies and have been persecuted for their views. We will always support them. But we do not want to and won’t accept anyone who is in any way associated with Russian state or governmental institutions or who stands in support of military aggression,” the statement added.


Ascential Events’ Cannes Lions advertising festival has also joined the Russian boycott and will not accept submissions from the country.

“We stand together with our friends in Ukraine, and our many partners and community members in Russia who strongly oppose the actions of the Russian government,” the festival said in a statement. “Despite our desire to celebrate creativity from wherever it comes, we have made the decision not to accept submissions or delegations from Russian organizations into Cannes Lions or its associated awards programs.”

“As an immediate action, Ascential and Lions will make a significant donation to humanitarian charities working in the affected region,” the statement added. “In addition, while we recognize that this is only a small gesture, we will welcome free of charge any and all Ukraine creatives who are able to attend Cannes Lions. Refunds on awards submissions for Ukraine agencies will also be honored.”


A group of Russian distributors have issued a statement calling for the end of the war.

“We, Russian film distributors, each on our own behalf, appeal to everyone who has it in their power to end the barbaric war in Ukraine, and we call for reconciliation and an immediate cease-fire,” the statement said.

“For many years we have been building bridges between people to help them learn to understand each other better. Our work is not just business, and it’s not just our job. Our work is to create and communicate culture. Our mission is for audiences in Russia to be able to watch films about life in other countries – like Serbia, Thailand, France or Ukraine – and for audiences across the globe to be able to watch films about Russia and its people.”

“Any good film, no matter the subject or the country of origin, is ultimately about the fact that every person’s life is a priceless gift. Life is full of wonderful, exciting things – but war is not one of them. Despite our differences, we humans are one and the same species, and under no circumstances do we have the biological or moral right to kill one another! We call on all opposing sides to engage in a constructive dialogue, because there is no other alternative to violence.”

“Stop the killing and destruction!,” the statement added.

The major Hollywood studios have paused film releases in Russia.

Nick Holdsworth contributed to this report.


Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov (“Rhino”) has issued a powerful statement from the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine war.

“In 2014, I was unlawfully imprisoned in Russia and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment for fighting against Putin regime and annexation of Crimea. Back then, the whole film industry stood up to support me. And I am immensely grateful for it. Now I’m asking you to support my country,” Sentsov said.

“Exactly two weeks ago, my movie, which I shot after I was out, was released in Ukraine. For a week now, I have been standing in the trenches as a participant of the territorial defence of Kyiv, which is a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Life has changed in an instant with the fall of the first bomb on the territory of Ukraine. Everything we knew about Hitler’s invasion has now become real again.”

“My motherland is mercilessly shelled from the land, sea and air. Russian bombs are falling on Ukrainian children. Millions are sitting in bomb shelters. Millions are suffering from being cold and lacking food. My country is being ruined, but our spirit is strong. We are going to fight until our victory.”

“For this, we need your support. The support of intellectuals and artists who oppose Putin’s bloody regime. People who value human life more than anything. I request your support for the boycott of Russian cinematography in all dimensions, including film cooperation: co-production, distribution and festivals, as requested by the Ukrainian Film Academy. Please sign the petition!”

“Stand with Ukraine! We will stop Putin together!,” the statement said.

Sentsov has also shared a video shot earlier this week, the location of which cannot be revealed for security reasons.



Banijay, one of Europe’s biggest production-distribution companies, announced Thursday that it is “freezing” new activity in Russia until further notice.

It is believed that Banijay is also reviewing current contracts with Russian companies and will also be donating €100,000 ($114,000) to a charity to support efforts in Ukraine, the charity to be confirmed by the end of the week. Banijay is also encouraging its teams worldwide to explore fundraising avenues.

As a sign of solidarity, all of Banijay’s social media handles are currently about to switch to our new “B” decked out in the distinctive blue and yellow of Ukraine’s national flag.

The full Banijay statement: “We are utterly saddened by the horrendous situation in Ukraine and our thoughts go to all those affected. As a vast global content production and distribution business, we, like most of the industry, have long historically had deals in-place across Russia. However, in light of recent events, we have taken the decision not to activate any new agreements in the region relating to production, distribution (sales and licensing) and general commercial matters, thereby freezing our activity there until further notice.”

A large question is how many more big European companies will rapidly follow Banijay’s example.


One of Spain’s biggest movie export platforms, the Málaga Festival’s Spanish Screenings XXL, has barred Russian buyers and acquisition executives from attending its next edition, running over March 21-24. 

The move ends plans, announced to Variety in February, to pay flights and accommodation for a fulsome Russian delegation, drawn especially from its VOD platforms, after Spanish film and trade authorities had identified Russian streaming services as an export market priority. Following Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine, that gameplan has rapidly been dropped. 

“The Malaga Festival, by common accord of the ICAA and ICEX, in reaction to the requests of the Spanish  audiovisual sector, has decided not to invite companies from Russia to the Spanish Screenings XXL, the official market for Spanish film sales,” the Festival announced Thursday evening in a statement. 

Without an invitation, Russian buyers will not only not see flight and accommodation paid for by the market but be barred from access to its in-person and online screenings. 


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has joined the condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “BAFTA joins our fellow Academies across Europe and stands united with the Ukrainian Film Academy in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” said BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar. “We stand in solidarity with all Ukrainian people bravely fighting for their country and we share their hope for a return to peace.”

“Together with the Ukrainian Film Academy we want to express the importance of reading and sharing verified accurate information. We extend our support and unreserved gratitude to the journalists and filmmakers, many of whom are BAFTA members, who are bravely reporting and documenting the conflict and humanitarian crisis as it unfolds. Our thoughts are with them and their families as they continue this vital work.”


Ukrainian film critics have appealed to the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) to boycott Russian state funded films. “We ask you to abstain from participating in any film or other event organized, hosted or funded, directly or indirectly, by Russian Federation,” the critics said in a statement. “We urge you not to take part online or otherwise in any film festivals and cultural forums in the Russian state as members of FIPRESCI. Otherwise, you will indirectly legitimize all the horrors Ukraine is withstanding now and struggling with hybrid Russian aggression it has been enduring for the last eight years. We are asking you not to be silent and vocally support Ukraine whenever it’s possible.”

“We are calling out for our fellow members of FIPRESCI and literally everybody who is reading this to actively support Russia’s isolation until its troops leave territory of Ukraine within its borders according to the international law,” the statement said.


The Belarusian film community has also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We, Belarusian film community, strongly condemn the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. We are outraged that the Russian aggressor uses our territory for launching deadly missiles to Ukraine,” a statement from several noted filmmakers, film critics and festival programmers said.

“Many Belarusian filmmakers were welcomed and supported in Ukraine after the repressions we suffered in 2020. We express our strong solidarity with the brave Ukrainian nation that fearlessly fights for the freedom of their country. As art people we clearly see the difference between the good and the evil. There is no place for evil in real life.”

“We demand Russian troops to leave the territory of Ukraine and Belarus. We demand to stop the war immediately,” the statement added.

Signatories include Volia Chajkouskaya, founder of Northern Lights Film Festival, producer, director; Aliaksei Paluyan, director, screenwriter; Mara Tamkovich, director; Igor Soukmanov, film critic, festival programmer; Andrei Rasinski, film critic, FIPRESCI member; Maria Yahorava, production manager; Julia Shatun, director; Andrei Kutsila, director; Nikolai Lavreniuk, producer; Vladimir Kozlov, writer/director; Anton Kaliaha, film critic and Taras Tarnalitsky, journalist.


A group of prominent Russian screenwriters have demanded peace. They include Anastasia Palchikova (“Bolshoy”), Roman Kantor (“To the Lake,” Netflix’s upcoming Anna Karenina adaptation “Anna K”), Anna Kozlova (“Flashmob”), “Captain Volkonogov Escaped” co-writer and co-director Aleksey Chupov and Nataliya Meshchaninova (“Arrhythmia”) among hundreds of others.

“The Russian government has banned the word “war.” The word “peace” is still allowed,” the screenwriters said in a statement. “The peace of the Ukraine has been violently destroyed. The peace of the sovereign independent state is under attack. The peace of the Russian people has vanished, too. The government is pushing us into the world of terror, isolation, economic, cultural and human disaster. We, the screenwriters of Russia, demand to stop this military operation and find the words for dialogue and negotiation.”

Plenty of Russian people are desperately writing open letters demanding the Russian government to stop: stand up-comedians, directors, teachers, doctors, architects, beauty industry workers, designers, and more, the statement added. “Many of those who signed the open letters have been fired; many have received threats of violence; thousands have been detained.”

“We are sending our enormous love to the Ukrainian people. We demand peace!”


The board of the European Women’s Audiovisual network have also joined the global media industry condemnation of the war.

Ada Solomon, executive president, wrote on behalf of the board: “We, EWA Network, are strongly condemning the criminal actions of Putin’s regime. We stand for all filmmakers that are opposing the criminal regime in Russia regardless their nationality, because we are one nation: the film nation, the freedom of expression nation. There is a crucial moment in the history when we have to stay united in our fundamental credo in order to survive.”

“Any filmmaker in need of anything is welcome to reach out at EWA Network contact@ewawomen.com and we will react instantly. Any financial support you would like to offer we encourage you to direct it towards the following organization indicated by our friends in the Molodist Film Festival in Kyiv: International Charitable Foundation “Come Back Alive”.

“We will keep you updated on other direct ways to support the innocent victims of this horrible war. United we survive.”


Global rights management company Eccho Rights has licensed “Servant of the People,” the 2016 series created by and starring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to Channel 4 in the U.K., MBC in the Middle East, ANT 1 in Greece and PRO TV in Romania, in solidarity with Ukraine and Zelenskyy.

Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director at Eccho Rights, said: “Eccho Rights stands in solidarity with our friends and partners in Ukraine. It is our position that the best support the global television industry can offer to Ukraine today is to share this story.”

Three seasons of the series and feature film are available to license from Eccho Rights.

Nicola Söderlund, managing partner at Eccho, said: “The series is a comedy but also an important document of where Zelenskyy comes from. His fictional president is a normal man, who grows into his role as a heroic and adored leader. While the real world scenario facing Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people is far more grim and appalling than the comedy of the series, there are obvious parallels with the real world situation, and “Servant of the People” is a fascinating, important and historic piece of television.”

Eccho Rights has also pledged a donation of €50,000 ($55,460) to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, to help to assist victims of the war and have removed all Russian-owned and produced series from their catalogue.

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“Servant of the People” Eccho Rights


The Estonian film industry has called for a boycott of films from warring Russia and Belarus and has asked all Estonian filmmakers to sign the Ukrainian Film Academy’s petition to declare a boycott of Russian cinema.

“The entire Estonian film industry calls on their government to implement extraordinary temporary measures to ban the production and distribution of state-sponsored audiovisual films from Russia and Belarus in Estonia, and to suspend cooperation in filmmaking and culture with their autocratic regimes until the war in Ukraine stops and the subsequent situation satisfies the international community,” Estonian industry representatives said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As filmmakers, we are acutely aware that the situation for our fellow filmmakers in those countries will be markedly harder under the international boycott. Hence, we appeal to you, Russian and Belarusian friends and filmmakers. Muster all your strength and creativity and act decisively against the inhuman actions of your leaders! We encourage you to take collective responsibility for the fate of your countries and nations,” the statement added. “We support all the filmmakers of Russia and Belarus who oppose the regimes of Putin and Lukashenko.”

The statement also lauds an appeal by Belarusian filmmakers who have strongly condemned Russian military aggression against Ukraine and says that the Estonian film industry is doing its best to assist Ukrainian refugees in finding professional work and accommodation.

Signatories to the statement include Estonian Filmmakers’ Association, Estonian Film Institute, Estonian Screenwriters’ Guild, Estonian Film Directors’ Guild, Estonian Documentary Guild, Estonian Society of Cinematographers, Estonian Film Industry Cluster, Estonian National Film Producers Union, Association of Estonian Film Producers, Baltic Film, Media and Arts School/Tallinn University, Department of Animation/Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Animation Association, Estonian Film Journalists’ Association, Estonian Association of Audiovisual Authors, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Cinema Artis/Tallinnfilm OÜ, Cinema Tartu Elektriteater, Cinema Sõprus, Cinema Võrgukuur, Estonian Film Museum/Estonian History Museum, The Association of Professional Actors of Estonia and Film Archive of the National Archives of Estonia.


The European Games Developer Federation, an agglomeration of national trade associations representing game developer studios based in 19 European countries has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “EGDF strongly condemns the Putin regime’s military offence against Ukraine and calls for international support for Ukraine, its people and the Ukrainian game developer community,” the body said in a statement. “Ukraine has been, is and will be an important and essential part of Europe and European games culture. During recent years, we have celebrated a boom of local game developer studios in Ukraine building their own highly successful Ukranian games. Furthermore, for years Ukrainian game developers have helped to shape the European games industry across Europe. There are not nearly any national game developer community without Ukrainian members in the EU.”

The statement goes on to call on the EU to defend its core values of human rights, democracy and liberalism and “to double down on being the land for the free.”