News Statement of the Karlovy Vary IFF on the letter from the Ukrainian filmmakers

Published: June 28, 2022| 03:04 PM

In the past few days, a group of Ukrainian filmmakers addressed a letter to the Karlovy Vary IFF, reacting to the fact that the festival included the film Captain Volkonogov Escaped in the festival’s program. We would like to send you the official response of the Karlovy Vary IFF management to the Ukrainian filmmakers, which also expresses our position on their request. 

Dear colleagues,

allow us to respond to your letter concerning the screening of the film Captain Volkonogov Escaped.

Rest assured that we have been carefully observing the situation in your country ever since the beginning of the Russian war aggression and we fully sympathize with all citizens of Ukraine.

Czech Republic is one of the most active European countries in terms of supporting Ukraine, providing humanitarian, political and military aid. Our country has accepted nearly 400 000 war refugees since the beginning of the war, who have been granted temporary protection visas.

The Czech prime minister Petr Fiala was one of the first European politicians who arrived to your capital city in person to support the just fight of the Ukrainian nation against the Russian occupants. In the field of international diplomacy, he also actively advocated for accepting Ukraine as a European Union candidate country.

Being an exposed cultural event, Karlovy Vary festival was looking for a meaningful way to support Ukraine. That’s why the festival offered partnership to the Works in Progress project of the Odesa Film Festival. We are also very happy to welcome four Ukrainian films in the festival´s line-up and screen the film Mariupol 2, which provides a unique testimony about the war and the city which became one of its tragic symbols.

According to our opinion, Captain Volkonogov Escaped is one of the most remarkable films from the last year’s edition of Venice Film Festival, which is why it was invited to the KVIFF´s program already during autumn. Although the film is set in 1938, quite obvious parallels with the current situation can be found in its story. We believe that the film provides a fitting description of how the manipulative actions of a despotic leader can influence the mindset of the majority of the society, purposefully create enemies of the regime in the name of ideology and ruthlessly annihilate them, and how such actions ultimately lead to a national tragedy. In this sense, we see the film Captain Volkonogov Escaped as an indirect, but very distinct criticism of the current Russian state regime.

We understand your arguments, however, we strictly refuse your interpretation that the screening of this film, which was in the past supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, distracts the international community from the war crimes committed in Ukraine. On the contrary, we believe that by screening the film, we can generate a public discussion which will draw attention to the overlap of the film’s main theme with current events.

For Karlovy Vary IFF:

Jiří Bartoška, president

Kryštof Mucha, executive director

Karel Och, artistic director


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