“Film Assembly” organizers: we never give up, the festival be held!

Awards of the "Film Assembly on the Dnieper" festival. Photo: press service of the Dnepropetrovsk Eparchy of the UOC

Even if there is no rule of law in Ukraine, we will find a format to enable the viewer to see real, good films, emphasized Archpriest Igor Sobko.

The International Festival of Christian Documentaries “Film Assembly on the Dnieper”, which the organizers were forced to cancel due to protests by aggressive nationalists in order to maintain peace, will continue to exist, and more foreign guests will take part in it next year, said the co-organizer of the festival, the head of the “Lestvitsa” ("Ladder") Orthodox Cultural Centre Archpriest Igor Sobko in an interview with the UOJ.

According to the clergyman said that currently, relevant appeals are being prepared to the President of Ukraine and the Council of Europe in connection with the disruption of the film festival. The directors who came to Kyiv to participate in the “Film Assembly”, in turn, will apply to the Ukrainian Consulates in their countries (in total, 8 foreign countries were represented at the festival).

“No one intends to give up,” said Father Igor. “The ‘Film Assembly’ will be held. Even if there is no rule of law in our state of Ukraine, we will find a format to invite directors and hold the ‘Film Assembly on the Dnieper’. And I know how to do this. And next year, believe me, there will be even more foreign guests. I have one desire: I want these films – good, real – to be watched by the viewer.”

Talking about the details of the day when representatives of nationalist groups disrupted the opening of the festival, the clergyman drew attention to the behavior of law enforcement officials.

“At the beginning of this chaos and lawlessness, when the viewers were not allowed into the hall, law enforcement agencies had to intervene and unblock the entrance to the House of Trade Unions,” he noted. “But the audience was deprived of this right, but the representatives of C14, the National Corps and others were able to go to the cinema hall and ran wild there.”

According to Father Igor, the police themselves suggested allowing the activists in: “let go and get started”.

“Law enforcers promised that if the unrest begins, they will immediately respond and withdraw the activists,” he emphasized. “I wanted the audience to go into the hall and see a film, so I agreed to such conditions secured by the police. But in the hall, they immediately began to interfere with the presenters, chanting “State Language!”, “Death to Enemies” and other slogans. We sang "The King of Heaven", they – "Ukraine Has Not Died Yet". We also sang the anthem of our country with them, but the activists initially had a different, clear task – to provoke a conflict, a fight."

The clergyman explained that after the unrest that the picketers made on the opening day of the festival at the entrance to the Trade Unions House and in the cinema hall, the organizers decided to cancel the event “for the sake of peace and harmony in our society”. On February 1, a thanksgiving service was held, at the end of which the winners of the "Film Assembly" were awarded – all participants received their prizes.

“My task was to maintain peace and tranquility,” the co-organizer of the film festival added. “The activists did not get what they wanted, I called everyone who wanted to intervene and help. May my name disappear from the history of the “Film Assembly”, but human life is more important than anything else.”

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.


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