Ukrainian Filmmakers Concerned About Nationalists Taking Over Film Agency

1:13 PM PST 03/17/2014 by Vladimir Kozlov
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

They have sent a letter to the country's prime minister, asking him to make sure that no single political force controls the main source of funding for the sector.

MOSCOW – Ukrainian filmmakers have sent a letter to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, asking him to make sure that a nationalist party doesn't take control of the country's film industry.

In a statement published on the Ukrainian filmmakers' union website, they expressed their concerns about the nationalist party Svoboda, which has put forth a candidate to head the country's state agency for cinema.

“In spite of repeated statements about democracy, also from Evromaidan [street protests that ousted the previous regime] and promises that party officials would not be pushed to senior official positions, the newly formed government includes many representatives of political organizations and parties,” reads the statement.

The filmmakers insisted that the Svoboda candidate, whose name they don't mention, “has no substantial managerial experience in the film industry.”

They also were concerned that the appointment of the Svoboda candidate could lead to a single political party usurping control of the national cinema industry.

“We are talking about intents to put cinema, one of the most efficient ideological instruments, under control of a single political force,” reads the letter. “Do we need to spell out the reaction to it abroad and damage for the government's reputation?”

The filmmakers also called for a probe into the national film agency's operations over the last 10 years and the activities of people who have headed it.

The Ukrainian film industry depends heavily on government cash and, against the backdrop of economic and political turmoil, funding for the sector is uncertain.

Among the filmmakers' union's members are veteran directors Roman Balayan and Kira Muratova, who were among the signatories of a recent address by Ukrainian filmmakers to their Russian colleagues in a bid to avoid war between the two countries.

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