The Belarusian Independent Film Academy to be announced in Berlin

Belarusian cinematographers unite to form the Belarusian Independent Film Academy. The organization will undertake the task of promoting the interests of independent Belarusian filmmakers, including on international platforms.

The idea of creating an association was born after the beginning of the war in Ukraine: then more than 130 Belarusian filmmakers signed a collective statement condemning Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The solidarity of the cinematographic community, where everyone still faced challenges individually, prompted the creation of an institution that would be able to speak on behalf of independent Belarusian filmmakers with one voice.

“After signing the letter, our solidarity began to expand, and we thought that we need a Film Academy – an association of professional creators who make decisions together and stand up for themselves together. Similar film academies have existed in Europe for dozens years, and thanks to them we know more about the cinema of their countries. Our task is for us to know each other better and at the same time for the world to know about us”, – say the founding members of the Film Academy.

The founding group includes directors Darya Zhuk, Aliaksei Paluyan and Andrei Kutsila, producer, director and director of the Northern Lights film festival Volia Chajkouskaya, senior programmer and consultant Ihar Sukmanau and film critic Irena Kaciałovič. Now the Film Academy is accepting new members.

The association was created taking into account the experience of film academies of other European countries, and has already received the support of the European Film Academy.

“We consider the establishment of the Belarusian Independent Film Academy a very timely and necessary undertaking. The European Film Academy is keen to promote the integration of independent Belarusian cinema further into the general European film community. Our Belarusian friends need our support in Europe: we will help establish contacts with European film institutes, film funds and film markets. We will soon welcome the Belarusian Independent Film Academy as a new member of the Association of European Film Academies”, – says the CEO and Director of the European Film Academy, Matthijs Wouter Knol.

According to the team’s statement, the new association will give independent filmmakers a singular voice. The Film Academy becomes an alternative to film organizations sponsored by the state and intends to lobby Belarusian independent cinema, expand its opportunities, and also promote freedom from censorship and state pressure.

The official presentation of the new organization will take place at the European Film Market within the Berlin International Film Festival – at the main venue of the EFM Martin Gropius Bau on February 17. There will also be a stand of the Belarusian Independent Film Academy at the European Film Market, which will be joined by the Belarusian Network of Filmmakers.