Russian Film 'August. Eighth' Banned in Ukraine

Authorities said they were afraid the film could ignite ethnic hatred.

MOSCOW – The Russian movie Avgust. Vosmogo (August. Eighth), centered on the 2008 Russian/Georgian military conflict, has been banned in Ukraine and a number of other post-Soviet countries, a decision that has been met with disappointment by its producers.

Earlier this week, Ukraine’s culture ministry revoked the film’s theater distribution license, responding to a complaint from some organizations and the local Georgian community that the movie could instigate hatred towards the Georgian people. Earlier, authorities in Moldova and Azerbaijan also cancelled the film’s releases.

"We made a film about regular people and human feelings: a mother's love for her child, woman’s love for man, a human being’s love for another human being," Dzhanik Fayziyev, the movie’s writer, director and producer, said in a statement.

"How could you judge and even ban [a movie] that you haven’t yet seen?" added co-producer Fyodor Bondarchuk. "The movie is being distributed [in Russia] by 20th Century Fox, and we are successfully negotiating its release in Europe and even in the United States."

The $16 million drama, focused on the story of a young woman who travels to collect her son from her mother and finds herself amidst a military conflict, was primarily financed by the Russian cinema fund, the main agency in charge of state cash for the film sector. The movie was released locally on February 21 and has grossed $9.7 million to date, according to the Russian data base KinoPoisk.