Kvedaravicius & Bilobrova: Mariupol 2

This text is written by filmmaker Maxi Dejoie:

On December 10th, Mariupol 2, the last documentary by Mantas Kvedaravicius and Hanna Bilobrova, rightfully received the award for best documentary of the year at the European Film Awards ceremony. After it was premiered in May at Cannes Film Festival, Hanna Bilobrova’s name was removed from the credits as the film’s co-director. During the European Film Awards ceremony, neither Hanna nor her name were nowhere to be heard nor seen. In a “normal” situation, this action would be very upsetting. What makes this specific situation even more disgraceful, is the fact that Hanna risked her like to retrieve the backpack which contained the footage realised by Mantas and herself in Mariupol under Russian occupation, and went through an infernal odyssey to locate Mantas’s body after he was executed by Russian soldiers/criminals, and managed to take him through Russia, back home to Lithuania where he could receive a proper and decent burial, close to his family.
As fellow documentary filmmaker, especially one that shared more than credit as co-director, I feel particularly upset by this event that I find unfair (to use an euphemism) and believe that it sets a dangerous precedent.
If there is anyone who believes that acknowledging Hanna’s contribution to the making of Mariupol 2 would make it any less of an extraordinary achievement, or Mantas Kvedaravicius’s sacrifice any less historic, I believe they would be wrong, as to recognise Hanna Bilobrova’s role as the film’s co-director would be simply a necessary act of justice and morality, something that should be a given in an “artistic” industry as ours, but apparently it is not.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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