Watch Irish Director Get Censored on Russian TV

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Johnny O'Reilly is cut short on live TV after saying Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov was jailed by Moscow for "political reasons."

In an interview on Russian television, Irish director Johnny O'Reilly was cut short after he expressed solidarity with Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, imprisoned for 20 years last week on terrorism charges.

O'Reilly was appearing on morning news program Life News to promote his new film, Moscow Never Sleeps, when he noted that Senstov was arrested and imprisoned "for political reasons."

The planned 15-minute interview was abruptly cut after just 3 minutes. "Sorry for interrupting you. Unfortunately we have to end this interview," said presenter Ilya Kostin. His co-host Daria Rodionova wished viewers a "lovely day, happy smiles and good feelings" before the show cut to the weather report.

O'Reilly, who lives in Moscow and speaks fluent Russia, mentioned Senstov in his first answer. Noting it was Russia's 'Day of Filmmakers," the director said: "I would like to wish all the best to one person in particular who had just been thrown into prison for political reasons: Oleg Sentsov. It is important we don't forget about him, especially today."
 
Then, without missing a beat, O'Reilly went on to talk about his film. The interviewers followed up with a question for actor Oleg Dolin, who stars in Moscow Never Sleeps. But while talking about his character in the film, Dolin is interrupted mid-sentence and the interview is abruptly canceled.
You can watch the segment below (with English subtitles). 

Ironically, O'Reilly notes in his first answer that the goal of his film was to show Russia to the West "as it really is ... without the filter of geopolitics."

Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor last week on terrorism charges. Fellow Ukrainian Alexander Kolchenko received 10 years. Sentsov is an outspoken critic of Moscow's military intervention in Crimea and many see the charges as politically motivated. The European Film Academy has launched an international campaign calling for him to be freed.

 

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, O'Reilly said he hadn't planned to cause a scandal but that he felt it was appropriate to mention Sentsov. After the interview was cut short he and Dolin quickly left the studios, he said.

"We just walked up the street laughing. I was aware Life News had a reputation for misreporting facts about Ukraine and had weighed up beforehand what we might get out of it by accepting their interview request."

Moscow Never Sleeps, O'Reilly's second feature — is due to have its red carpet premiere in Moscow on Wednesday.

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