Season's Greetings | PF 2023

19. 12. 2022

Author: Zdenek Blaha

Dear friends of documentary cinema,

The East Doc Platform, East Doc Forum, Ex Oriente… The East is inherently in its name. The Institute of Documentary Film will enter its 22nd year of existence. Since its beginning, all our activities and events have always aimed to support filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe. 

It is our duty to support and protect free voices of our diverse region, voices of artists of diverse cultural and social backgrounds, in celebration of the power and impact of creative storytelling.

Few years ago, we had a motto of the East Doc Platform that said “Make East Great Again”. Yes, the context was different then and it was meant as a joke. But looking at it in the current context, it was really a bad idea and I am ashamed of it. Because when you say it now in the light of the recent war in Ukraine, the first that comes to my mind are the imperialistic tendencies of Vladimir Putin. And this was never the aim of our motto. It was supposed to mean the diverse nature of the region, of the different cultural and social backgrounds, as well as celebration of the creative power and visions of the local artists. 

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces is an aggressive act that has no place in our society. No country has the right to violate the borders of a sovereign state under the pretext of any lie. This is an attack on democracy. Putin's words about "peace mission" and “special operation” are a bitter reminiscence of the Soviet Union's "friendly help" that saw Czechoslovakia occupied for decades.

But the people of Ukraine gave that motto the meaning it truly deserves. The brave, honest, courageous attitude of the people of Ukraine who are fighting for our freedom, safety and comfort are now the essence of the great East and they need our support. 

I would like to express my respect and gratitude to all those brave people who are fighting for their (and our) freedom, to all people across Europe helping Ukrainian people in need, and to all of you who are getting involved by sending money, materials and medicine, organizing help for refugees or simply for being active citizens who are against this war.

Please consider supporting Ukrainian people in their fight. Everyone can help even with small actions. Please use your positions to support filmmakers. Because they are the ones who bring stories that go beyond the ordinary news. Stories that could make a change, and create impact. Stories we at the IDF support and help bring to you, the dedicated audience of documentary cinema.

Below you can find not only our letter signed by film organizations and festivals we initiated in the direct response to the Russian invasion, but also a selection of funds which you could consider contributing to. There are also interviews with Ukrainian filmmakers, podcasts, case studies, panels and other information about the Ukrainian documentary cinema. 

We stand with the Ukrainian people and hope the response of the international society will be adequate, and that Putin's hostile act will not go unpunished. We wish you all the nightmares to be over soon and hope 2023 will be a better year.

Stay strong, Ukrainian friends!

Yours truly,

Zdenek Blaha

Programme Director
Institute of Documentary Film

Support Ukraine:
People in Need: Ukraine
Voices: Help the Children
Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund
SOS ADRA: Help People in Ukraine
Embassy of Ukraine in Prague: Weapons to Ukraine
UNITED24: The Initiative of the President of Ukraine
Charity Foundation "Come Back Alive"

See also:
A letter in support of the people in Ukraine

List of Ukrainian film curators

IDF Industry Session: Decolonization of Old Ideological Constructs and Film Industry Practice
IDF Industry Session: Female Voices in Film Production

True Story podcast, episode 10: Simon Mozgovyi
True Story podcast, episode 25: Alina Gorlova
True Story podcast, episode 33: Darya Bassel
True Story podcast, episode 36: Mariia Ponomarova
True Story podcast, episode 39: Taisiia Kutuzova
True Story podcast, episode 40: Oksana Syhareva and Nataliia Pogudina

An Interview with Alisa Kovalenko and Stéphane Siohan (by Tue Steen Müller)

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