Film festival BANS Russian films in solidarity with Ukraine

"We just believe that it would be inappropriate to proceed as normal with these screening in the current circumstances."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

The Glasgow Film Festival released a statement saying that Russian films and filmmakers would not longer be welcomed at the upcoming festival. This as a result of the Russian invasion of the European nation of Ukraine.

"In light of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and in response to a plea from the Ukrainian Film Academy today, on behalf of the society of Ukrainian film professionals and cultural figures, Glasgow Film Festival as decided to withdraw the two Russian titles (No Looking Back and The Execution) from out 2022 programme."

"This decision," the Glasgow Film Festival writes, "is not a reflection on the views and opinions of the makers of these titles. We just believe that it would be inappropriate to proceed as normal with these screening in the current circumstances."

Despite their claim that the artists' views are not in question, the film festival is holding artists and their artwork accountable for the Russian invasion, and siding with the artists whose nation has been invaded over the artists whose nation has done the invading.

There is much reason to believe that artists and activists who hail from Russia are entirely opposed to the invasion of Ukraine by their government. One activist in Edinburgh set fire to her Russian passport at a protest against the war.

Michael Cernovich lambasted the festival for their actions, asking "How does punishing Russian filmmakers, who like most artists wouldn’t support the Ukraine action, help? This is blatant xenophobia and would be intolerable if applied to any other group of people."

Cernovich's take is that this is not something that has been seen with artists or scholars from other nations when their home country behaves badly on the world stage. In fact, there seems to be more of an impetus for the Glasgow Film Festival to do this to fellow European than there would be, for example, with filmmakers from any other continent.

The BBC reports that "Anna Jakubova used a lighter to ignite the red booklet in front of hundreds of people gathered near The Mound. Ms Jakubova, 26, from Moscow, said she was horrified by the slaughter of civilians and ashamed to be Russian. Demonstrations have been taking place in the Scottish capital since the invasion started on Thursday."

In response to the ban on the Russian films, Glenn Greenwald said that "Banning books, films, athletes, musicians, students and everything else simply because they're Russian achieves absolutely nothing positive for anyone - just a little social media clout - but creates a toxic climate designed to foster the darkest and ugliest instincts in humans."

In response to the blowback, the Glasgow Film Festival said that the two films were backed by the Russian state. "Both films have received state funding via the CF Cinema Fund whose board of trustees included current Ministers of the Russian Government and the Russian Ministry of Culture."

"We want to stress that this decision was only taken after careful consideration and is not a reflection on the views or opinions of the films. We believe that right now it would be inappropriate to proceed as normal with the screenings while the assault on the Ukrainian people continues."

No Looking Back, directed by Kirill Sokolov, is about a mother, recently released from prison, endeavoring to regain custody of her daughter from the child's grandmother. The Execution is a mystery about searching for a serial killer directed by Lado Kvataniya.

The Stockholm Film Festival also banned Russian films that had been funded by the state. That "decision is regrettable but a necessary mark in a time like this," said Beatrice Karlsson, the Stockholm festival's program coordinator. "Russia's actions are unacceptable."

Both the film festivals at Cannes and Venice said that they would only ban films that did have a connection to the Russian state.


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