Ukrainian Letters

The Russian president extends the war against Ukraine. In this time of human catastrophes our thoughts and feelings are with our Ukrainian friends and colleagues and their families. FIPRESCI has members in both countries, in the Ukraine and in Russia. We also see and appreciate that Russian colleagues dare to openly oppose against the politics of their president.

As long as this war rages on, FIPRESCI will not participate in festivals and other events organized by the Russian government and its offices.

In April, 2022, FIPRESCI had scheduled a colloquium in St. Petersburg, to make us familiar with new Russian films. This colloquium has been canceled. Other events will be examined.

We document the comments and reactions that reached us, and will reach us, from our members – film critics and their associations worldwide. 

The Board of FIPRESCI

The Sound of Missiles. Our colleague Elena Rubashevska, editor-in-chief of this website, who is originally from Donetsk, sent a letter about how she experienced the first days of the war. Read her letter.
“Don’t Be Silent.” Ukrainian Film Critics Appeal to the Members of FIPRESCI
“Our Hearts And Our Thoughts Are With You.” Read the German Critics State
“Slava Ukraini!” Belarusian Film Community Against War read the statement
Other Statements click here

“Stay safe and pray for Ukraine”
By Elena Rubashevska – February 24, 2022

Dear colleagues,

Dear fellow humans! As you very well know, yesterday Ukraine has suffered the first blows of Russian aggression that has been officially declared war. February 24, being on a work trip in Donbas, I woke up to the sounds of missiles and had to spend several hours in the hotel’s basement. Luckily, with the help of international press, I managed to get on a car to Kyiv, just to proceed to the most heated spot in the whole country.

It’s February 25, and I am still on the road: checkpoints, curfew and blown bridges make it hard to reach our destination. Luckily, we still have Internet, which make it possible to be in touch with those in the capital. News are dreadful: the whole city shudders from artillery, there are fighter aircrafts in the sky, and overnight there was a heated battle for the military airport that is just 5 km away from my home.

Those who had means to do it, left for the western part of the country which is now also reported to be attacked. A lot of people have no possibility to move out of the city; the roads are blocked, heated clashes everywhere. As I’m writing this, two more fighter aircrafts rushed in the direction of Kyiv. 

I am originally from Donetsk. We’ve been living in the state of war for 8 years now. My family has been split ever since, many people suffer from post-traumatic syndrome. Now that experience will be shared by all Ukrainians. 

Under this circumstances, I’d want to emphasize that we are in a desperate need not only for the deep concerns announced by the international community, but for real actions. The Russian state has to be stopped. It is now obvious more than ever that it is not only an Ukrainian problem: the whole world as we know it is threatened by the insatiable ambitions of those in charge of the Russian Federation.

I’d also want to mention that I’ve been reached by many Russian colleagues who are not supporting this madness. We are immensely grateful for that and know how much courage it takes to express such an opinion openly. But even though, I think all the cultural events, including film festivals, should not take place or be visited by international press until all the Russian troops leave the Ukrainian borders. Taking part in festivities now would be equal to silently supporting occupants and encouraging their unlawful and unhuman deeds.

Stay safe and pray for Ukraine,

Elena Rubashevska
FIPRESCI Editor-in-Chief and Ukrainian FIPRESCI members

“Don’t Be Silent”
Ukrainian Film Critics Appeal to the Members of FIPRESCI – February 27, 2022

Dear colleagues,

Ukraine is suffering Russia’s unprovoked invasion right now.

Ukrainian FIPRESCI branch consists of the members from different cities of Ukraine, including members from the territories unlawfully occupied by Russia for the last eight years and being constantly repressed for what they are.

Most of these cities were already bombed by Russian troops and most likely will be any time soon. Heavy street fighting is going on in some of them including Kyiv. 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.

We ask you to abstain from participating in any film or other event organized, hosted or funded, directly or indirectly, by Russian Federation. 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.

This is joint message from film critics from Ukraine which include Ukrainian Film Critics Association members we were able to reach. It is only partial due to extreme conditions in which we all live and fight today.

Alik Shpilyuk, Daria Badior, Oksana Voloshenyuk, Kateryna Slipchenko, Anton Filatov, Oleksii Pershko, Oleh Baturin, Nadia Zavarova, Denis Budanov, Alexandr Gusev, Dmytro Desiateryk, Serhii Ksaverov, Roman Huba, Nataliia Serebriakova, Natalia Moussienko, Oksana Moussienko, Anastasiya Lyakh, Kateryna Gorodnycha, Yuliia Kovalenko, Aliona Penzii, Yurii Samusenko, Dmytro Sydorenko, Yaroslav Pidgora-Gviazdovsky, Olha Sidorushkina, Ihor Hrabovych, Alex Malyshenko, Yulia Kuznietsova, Valerii Myrny, Anton Frolov, Stanislav Bytiutskyi, Anna Datsiuk, Kyrylo Pyshchykov, Lukian Halkin, Elena Rubashevska, Olena Chychenina.
• Download the pdf version.

“Our Hearts And Our Thoughts Are With You”
German Critics State – February 27, 2022

To the
Association of Filmcritics of Ukraine

Dear Sergii, dear Alik, dear Olga,
dear members of the Ukrainian film critics association,

We hope the letter finds you, your families, colleagues and all love ones healthy and safe.

Our hearts and our thoughts are with you in this terrible time. The violent aggression of Putin and the invasion of Russian troops are not tolerable and can not be accepted.

We demand from President Putin to immediately stop the attacks, to recall Russian troops from Ukraine and to recognize the Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We stand by your side not only with our words. The members of our organization will not participate in cultural events organized by the Russian Government until people in Ukraine are able to live peacefully once again.

We hope for this conflict to resolve soon and that we see each other again soon.

Ingrid Beerbaum, Andrea Dittgen, Katharina Dockhorn
Bundesvereinigung deutscher Medienjournalisten

Belarusian Film Community Against War

Dear Ukrainians, Dear International Community, Dear Fellow Filmmakers,

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. 

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. 

Slava Ukraini! 

March 1, 2022
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; Vladimir Kozlov, writer / director; Anton Kaliaha, film critic; Taras Tarnalitsky, journalist, film observer; Nadzeya Ilkevich, producer; Alexander Mihalkovich, film director, producer; Uliana Budik, journalist; Tanya Haurylchyk, cinematographer; Sasha Kulak, director; Uladzislau Rubanau, journalist, film director; Andrei Matalyha, cinematographer; Ekaterina Markavets, director; Olga Nadolskaya, film curator, programmer; Vlada Senkova, film director; Artyom Busel, sound director; Andrei Kashpersky, film director; Kiryl Yerokhin, film director; Nikita Lavretski, director; Aliaksandr Lesko, actor, VFX artist; Mitry Semenov-Aleinikov, director; Nela Agrenich, director; Darya Amialkovich, film critic, FIPRESCI member; Nikolai Lavreniuk, producer, festival programmer; Ales Lapo, director; Artsiom Lobach, filmmaker; Bart Kuraga, director, editor, vfx artist, animator; Helena Yasinskaya, director, editor; Tanya Hatsura-Yavorska, international documentary human rights film festival WATCH DOCS Belarus; Anna Efremenko, Film critic; Svetlana Sokol, sound mixer, sound designer; Dmitry Natalevich, sound designer; Aliaksei Vainilovich, actor / screenwriter; Maksim Zhbankou, film critic, cultural analyst; Andrey Korolevich, producer; Kaciaryna Stabrouskaja, producer; Viktar Boika, actor, casting director, director; Konstantin Vorobey, producer; Victoria Vorobey, screenwriter; Andrey Polupanov, director; Aliaksandr Matafonau, director, screenwriter; Siarhiej Kanaplianik, cinematographer; Anna Polupanova, actress; Mikalai Skarakhodau, cinematographer; Artem Bogoslavsky, filmmaker; Ruslan Fedotow, director; Anna Savchenko, film director; Kirill Synkov, film director, cinematographer; Svetlana Sokolovskaya, actress; Darya Zhuk, film director; Angelika Krasheuskaya, art manager; Mikhail Khursevich, cinematographer; Yuliya Ralko, director, cinematographer; Raisa Rozum, art manager; Irena Katsialovich, film critic, FIPRESCI member; Leonid Kalitenya, film producer; Maksim Shved, film director; Kateryna Tryfanava-Vishneuskaya, director; Dmitry Friga, producer, compositor, sound engineer; Galina Shur, film critic, FIPRESCI member; Andrei Kalesnikau, colorist, Editor; Dzina Korshunava, international film festival “Nefiltravanae kino”, manager, program coordinator; Tanya Svirepa, director; Daniil Hayou, cinematographer; Tatiana Loginova, cinematographer; Petr Dainovsky, director; Nikita Alexandrov, cinematographer; Maksim Karpitski, film critic, FIPRESCI member; Veranika Bandarovich, film director; Anton Sidarenka, film critic, FIPRESCI member; Anastasiya Sergienya, Film Director; Alexey Kuznetsov, Filmmaker; Hanna Badziaka, Filmmaker, journalist; Alexei Busel, sound designer; Lena Le, film director, producer; Maryna Yakubovich, actress; Yuliya Samailouskikh, booker, festival manager; Aliaksandra Dorskaya, ​​journalist, art manager; Aliaksandr Mishyn, Director of photography; Volha Kavaliova, actress; Yulia Laurankova, debut director; Victor Copytsko, composer; Agatha Mikhailova, film director, colorist; Irina Kodiukova, director, animator; Irina Prokopets, VFX Producer; Yanina Rashchynskaya, filmmaker; Sasha Stelchenko, director, scriptwriter; Dzianis Volkov, director; Olga Loginova, director.

Other Statements

European Film Academy
(1) Declaration of Protest / (2) Solidarity with Ukraine

Festival of Cannes
(1) Statement of the Festival
(2) Statement Parallel Sections (Directors’ Fortnight, Semaine de la Critique, ACID)

Ukrainian Filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa Speaks Against Russian Boycott