Protest for Arrested Director Oleg Sentsov

Protest for Arrested Director Oleg Sentsov photo: EFA/Sandra Weller

On the occasion of a screening of THE TRIAL - THE STATE OF RUSSIA VS. OLEG SENTSOV by Askold Kurov, Agnieszka Holland, Volker Schlöndorff, the European Film Academy, and Amnesty International have protested against the incarceration of the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov.

Presented by the Berlinale and the European film Academy as part of the Berlinale Special section, the Berlinale premiere had filmmakers team up with with the 650 spectators holding up signs demanding the release of the director.

“Oleg needs us but we also need Oleg."

Moderated by EFA Deputy Chairman Mike Downey, the discussion saw director Askold Kurov point out: “The story of making this film is a story of solidarity,” adding his hope that the film makes Oleg less of an abstract person. While the filmmaker’s cousin had no optimistic news to report, his lawyer Dmitrii Dinze stated that if an international campaign continues, “it will push the legal regime in Russia.” To much applause, EFA Chairwoman Agnieszka Holland said: “Oleg needs us but we also need Oleg. His courage is very relevant in times like these, maybe more so than two years ago!”

In May 2014, the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was involved in supporting the Euro Maidan protests in Kiev and who has opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia, was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in his house in Simferopol (Crimea). 
Eventually, at the end of what Amnesty International describes as “an unfair trial in a military court”, Oleg Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in jail for having committed “crimes of a terrorist nature”.

In his documentary Askold Kurov investigates the truth behind this political show trial. He was joined in a conversation after the screening by EFA Chairwoman Agnieszka Holland, Oleg Sentsov's cousin Natalya Kaplan and his lawyer Dmitrii Dinze.

Berlinale Special
production Marx Film (Estonia) and Message Film (Poland) in co-production with Czech Television supported by Polish Film Institute and B2B Doc editors Michal Leszczylowski, Evgeny Zaozernykh sound and music Sorin Apostol  cinematography Askold Kurov coproducer Alena Müllerová producers Violetta Kaminska, Izabela Wojcik, Dariusz Jablonski, Masha Gavrilova, Max Tuula director Askold Kurov

Further Berlinale screenings: 
Sunday 12 Feb 18.00 & Thursday 16 Feb 18.00 Cubix 8