Polish film academy calls to release Ukrainian filmmaker imprisoned for opposing Crimean annexation

Award ceremony of the Polish Film Academy, snapshot of broadcast 

Crimea, International, Political prisoners

Article by: Alya Shandra

The Polish Film Academy has called to release Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker who is being held in detention in Moscow for his protest against the annexation of Crimea. On 3 March 2015 all the invited guests during the award ceremony of the Polish Film Academy held yellow cards with the words “jestem OLEG SENTSOV,” which in translation from Polish means “I am Oleg Sentsov” – an allusion to the worldwide famous “Je Suis Charlie,” which appeared after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. All people that want to support Oleg Sentsov can join the action, informs the site of the film awards, pnf.pl.

Snapshots of the broadcast of the Award ceremony:

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The appeal of Dariusz Jabłoński, President of the Polish Film Academy, is below:

“Ladies and gentlemen,

The dramatic situation of our colleague, a Ukrainian director, calls us to action.

Oleg Sentsov, whose cinematic debut “Gamer” in 2012 was screened during festivals in Rotterdam, Wiesbaden, and Odesa, is held without trial in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison from May 11, 2014 (for more than 9 months!).

Taking part in pro-European demonstrations on the Maidan, he publicly expressed his opposition to the annexation of the Crimea, where he lived together with his wife and two children in Simferopol. Mr. Sentsov was arrested by Russia’s security service, secretly taken to Moscow and unreasonably accused of terrorist activities. He faces a sentence of 17 years in prison.

We protested against this together with other European filmmakers. Oleg wrote to Agnes Holland: “I am sincerely grateful to all the filmmakers who support me, and especially thank the Poles, who help Ukraine in this difficult time, and are our real brothers.”

As the Polish Film Academy, we want to symbolically take custody over him. We poles understand what it means to be imprisoned for expressing opinions very well.

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We ask you to participate in the protests:
Take your photo with a sign: I AM OLEG SENTSOV and send us a picture with your signature to the E-mail: [email protected]

Talk about him and write about him wherever possible.

Donate money for packets and legal aid to the account that we will provide on our website in a couple of days.

We will not allow our Ukrainian filmmaker colleague, who wanted to live in peace in a country where he was born, and make movies, to die in prison!

Dariusz Jablonski, President of the Polish Academy
Warsaw, March 2, 2015 .”

The international filmmaking community has expressed its support for Oleg Sentsov previously. A letter of deputy chairman of the European Film Academy demanding to release Sentsov “imprisoned on charges of terrorism” was published on 27 February 2015. Calls to release Sentsov were reiterated by the Berlin Academy of Arts at the Berlinale Film Festival in February.

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