Baltic Sea Docs 2022: Four films were screened made by Ukrainian directors and/or about Ukraine directly or indirectly. And at the pitching forum there were projects like “Little People” by Ivan Sautkin, “Iron Man (One Day I Wish to see You Happy)” by Maryna Nikolcheva and “The Blessed Ones” by Andrii Lysetskyi. One of the tutors was Roman Bondarchuk who was there with Darya Averchenko and their youngest child Luka, 18 months. So naturally there was a focus on the country at war, also “outside” the film event with a photo exhibition portraying Ukrainian refugees in Latvia; the mayor of Riga talked as did the Danish photographer of the portraits, the director of the Danish Cultural Institute in the Baltic countries with long speeches by the Latvian and Danish foreign ministers, all condemning the war – outside on the square facing the Russian embassy.
All three film projects named were awarded at the closing ceremony on a boat on the Daugava river, “Iron Man” through an invitation to the producer Oleksandra Kravchenko to come back to Baltic Sea Docs… She was there before with what became the amazing “Roses. Film Cabaret”.
I got a copy of “Estonian Film”, a special edition made for the Cannes Film Festival with a focus on Ukrainian Film, excellent with articles/interviews with filmmakers from the country including two important documentary voices, producer and industry head of DocuDays Darya Bassel and veteran Serhiy Bukovsky, whose last masterpiece on composer Silvestrov was reviewed on this site (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4714/)
A couple of quotes from the interviews made by Maria Ulfsak and film consultant at the Estonian Film Institute Filipp Kruusvall:
… While big businesses are leaving Russia, while governments stop buying Russian gas and coal, film festivals and other cultural events seem to be totally disconnected from reality. They say we are “above” this, culture is not politics. You know what I think about this? It’s a luxury to have the possibility to take such a position. You don’t have the luxury of being apolitical, or think that art and films exist in another universe, where we all can calmly reflect as friends on the genocide that is happening right now in front of our eyes. When it’s about your life or death, you don’t have this luxury. You know deep inside that culture is politics… (Darya Bassel)
… I guess documentaries will rocket. This genre already reacts quickly to current events in life. Also, in feature films, the theme of war becomes the main one. In many cases, this will be rather superficial, declarative. It will take decades for a deeper artistic understanding of this subject… We continue to meet with our students online. Many are filming what is happening right now. Hopefully, soon we will collect all the filmed material into one extensive war anthology… (Serhiy Bukovsky).