Sergei Loznitsa, Director Who Stood with Russian Filmmakers, Expelled from Ukrainian Film Academy

Loznitsa described the decision as "a gift to Russian propagandists from the Ukrainian Film Academy."
6000786 06.09.2019 Director Sergei Loznitsa attends a photocall for the film "State Funeral" at the 76th annual Venice International Film Festival, in Venice, Italy. Ekaterina Chesnokova / Sputnik  via AP
Sergei Loznitsa
Sputnik via AP

Sergei Loznitsa, the Ukrainian director who resigned from the European Film Academy over its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been expelled from the Ukrainian Film Academy for expressing his support for Russian filmmakers. In a statement released on Saturday, March 19, Loznitsa wrote that he had been expelled for being, in the Academy’s words, “a cosmopolite,” accused of being insufficiently loyal to his home country.

Loznitsa, best known for directing the films “Donbass” and “A Gentle Creature,” originally made waves for slamming the European Film Academy’s tepid response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The Academy had issued a bland statement offering its support to Ukrainians without denouncing Russia.

“What a shameful text has been generated by the European Film Academy,” Loznitsa wrote in response. “You state in your address that there are 61 Ukrainian members among your ranks. Well, as of today, there are only 60 of them. I don’t need you ‘being alert and staying in touch with me,’ thank you very much!”

But while Loznitsa wants to see Vladimir Putin and the Russian government punished, he does not believe that individual Russian citizens should face consequences for a war that many of them oppose. He has been an outspoken advocate for Russian filmmakers and artists, including the film industry to continue to include Russian films in festivals.

Loznitsa’s position is a simple one: “In the tragedy of war, I firmly believe, that one must keep their common sense about them. I am against the boycott of my colleagues, Russian filmmakers, who are speaking out against the crimes of Putin’s regime,” he wrote in his statement announcing his expulsion from the Ukrainian Film Academy.

Loznitsa went on to lament the organization’s nationalist stance, writing that “it is not the civil and political standpoint of every citizen of the country that matters; it is not the aspiration to unite all the freedom-loving and free-thinking people of the world against the Russian aggression; it is not the creation of an international effort of all democratic countries in the world to win this war; it is the ‘national identity’ that matters most. Unfortunately, this is Nazism. A gift to Kremlin propagandists from the Ukrainian film academy.”

Loznitsa ended his statement with a plea: “I sincerely wish for everyone to remain sane during this tragic time.”

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