"Film Assembly on the Dnieper" officially cancelled

Nationalists blocking the entrance to the House of Trade Unions in Dnipro. Photo: “Nashe Misto”

After protests by nationalists picketing the venue of the film festival on the day of its opening, the organizing committee decided to cancel the event.

The international festival of documentary Christian films “Film Assembly on the Dnieper – 2020”, which was to be held in Dnipro from January 30 to February 2, has been cancelled. This was announced by the co-organizer of the festival Archpriest Igor Sobko, head of the “Lestvitsa” Orthodox Cultural Centre, reports UA: DNIPRO.

The organizing committee made the decision to cancel the event after the radical nationalist groups disrupted the opening ceremony of the festival on January 30.

As reported earlier, on the opening day of the “Film Assembly”, dozens of masked activists with fires and posters “No to the Russian world!” and “Freedom to the prisoners of the Kremlin” held a protest rally at the House of Trade Unions in Dnipro. Having blocked the entrance to the auditorium, the protesters expressed dissatisfaction with the showing of Russia-made films and demanded that they should be removed from the festival programme. A part of the activists broke into the cinema hall “to find out whether the films contain pro-Russian propaganda” and immediately after the announcement of the start of the festival, they began to sing the anthem of Ukraine. It also became known that the protesters physically threatened the organizer of the “Film Assembly” Archpriest Igor Sobko.

As a result, both parties filed a complaint with the police: protesters – that, in their opinion, the festival violated the law on cinematography, and the organizers of the "Film Assembly" – that protesters prevented guests and participants of the festival from attending the opening ceremony. According to Olga Kuznetsova, a spokeswoman for the regional police, both facts are included in the unified register, checks are being conducted. The police also opened criminal proceedings because of the image of the Russian flag, which was present along with other flags of the countries participating in the festival on the posters of the “Film Assembly” (according to Article 356 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – “arbitrariness”), and “the police are now looking for people who could place these posters to establish their motives".

We recall that the "International Film Assembly on the Dnieper" was first held in 2010. The main goal of the festival is to popularize documentary film art and create favorable conditions for the development of modern documentary cinema in Ukraine. In addition to film screenings, the festival also hosts meetings with filmmakers. The forum has long been a platform for communication between documentary filmmakers.

This year, films from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus, Italy, France, Serbia, Sweden and Ukraine were planned to be shown at the festival. The main criterion for selecting participating documentaries is adherence to universal and Christian values.

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