Documentary on Jailed Ukrainian Filmmaker Gets Crowdfunding Campaign

Oleg Sentsov Poster - H 2014
Courtesy of Ukrainian FIlmmakers Association

Oleg Sentsov Poster - H 2014

Oleg Sentsov was arrested by Russia and accused of plotting terrorist attacks during last year's annexation of Crimea.

Filmmakers have launched a crowdfunding campaign for Release Oleg Sentsov, a new documentary on jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov.

Russian authorities arrested and imprisoned Sentsov on terrorist charges a year ago. His arrest came shortly after Russia's annexation of Crimea. Many see the arrest as politically motivated; Sentsov was an outspoken critic of Russia and did not recognize the legitimacy of the Crimean annexation. Several international filmmakers and institutions have expressed support for him.

"…[i]t's not only a political-themed inquiry into the injustice in contemporary Russia," the producers of Release Oleg Sentsov wrote on their IndieGoGo profile. "This is an absurd and frightening Kafka-esque story about how anyone can become a victim of the soulless state machine."

"We will try to draw a portrait of Oleg and the colossus he is opposing," they went on to say. "Shooting our film, we also record and post interviews with world celebrities in support of Sentsov."

According to the film's creators, they hope that those videos, as well as the finished film, will contribute to the worldwide campaign in support of Sentsov, leading to his eventual release.

The documentary is to be directed by Askold Kurov, known for Deti 404 (Children 404), a documentary about gay teens in Russia, and Ukraine's Andrei Litvinenko.

The producers hope to raise $13,700 (€12,500) on IndieGoGo toward financing the documentary.

Sentsov was detained by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in May 2014, shortly after Russia's annexation of Crimea. After the annexation, Russia viewed Crimea as its own territory, allowing it to arrest Senstov, who lived in the region.

Major international film personalities, including Pedro Almodovar, Agnieszka Holland, Stephen Daldry, Bela Tarr, Wim Wenders, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Aki Kaurismaki, Volker Schlondorff, Betrand Tavernier, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi, have spoken out in support of Sentsov.

Last year, the San Sebastian Film Festival made the imprisoned director an honorary jury member.