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The European Film Academy (EFA) has taken the unprecedented step of joining the Ukrainian Film Academy in a global boycott of Russian film as a means of protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement on Tuesday, the EFA said it has “joined the massive global sanctions currently in effect against Russia and fully supports the call of the Ukrainian Film Academy to boycott Russian film.”
The Ukrainian Film Academy called for the boycott on Saturday, just days after Russian forces invaded the country.
“The Academy strongly condemns the war started by Russia — Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory must be respected. Putin’s actions are atrocious and totally unacceptable, and we strongly condemn them,” the EFA’s statement reads. “What concerns us most is the fate of the Ukrainians, and our hearts are with the Ukrainian filmmaking community. We are fully aware that several of our members are fighting with arms against the aggressor. The Academy will therefore exclude Russian films from this year’s European Film Awards and we lend our support to each element of the boycott.”
The European Film Academy also apologized for not expressing its unequivocal support for Ukraine earlier. On Monday, Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa published an open letter calling out what he termed the EFA’s “shameful” and timid response to Russian aggression. While the EFA immediately condemned the attacks, it did not initially support a boycott or other sanctions against Russia. In his letter, Loznitsa said he was resigning from the EFA in protest.
“We acknowledge that this reaction should have come at an earlier point in the past days, but our democratic processes needed to be followed,” the EFA said Tuesday, adding that the organization is now taking the opportunity “to unequivocally express our protest against this abominable war and to re-confirm and reiterate our complete and total solidarity with the heroic people of Ukraine.”
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