oleg sentsovUPDATE: In an open letter released today more European film pros have joined European Film Academy chairwoman Agnieszka Holland in calling for the release of detained Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was arrested a month ago and has yet to be officially charged by Russian officials.

To:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – President of Russia
Sergey Evgenyevich Naryshkin – Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Alexander Wassiljewitsch Bortnikow – Director of the FSB
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kolokoltsev – Russian Minister of Internal Affairs
Vladimir Medinsky – Russian Minister of Culture
Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika – Prosecutor General

According to the information currently available, the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in his house in Simferopol on 11 May and brought to Moscow where he is detained and awaiting trial. There has not been any official information about the charges brought up against him for almost three weeks.

We, his undersigning European colleagues, are deeply worried and cannot stop wondering how he is and what his future will be. In the light of these circumstances, we respectfully call upon you
to ensure the safety of Oleg Sentsov;
to make public the whereabouts of the detained;
to have the detained charged with a recognisable offence or released;
to instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB in order to bring all those responsible to justice.

Yours faithfully,

Agustín Almodóvar, producer, Spain
Pedro Almodóvar, director, Spain
Stephen Daldry , director, UK
Mike Downey, producer, UK
Agnieszka Holland, director, Poland
Aki Kaurismäki, director, Finland
Mike Leigh, director, UK
Ken Loach, director, UK
Wojciech Marczewski, director, Poland
Rebecca O’Brien, producer, UK
Daniel Olbrychski, actor, Poland
Antonio Saura, producer, Spain
Volker Schlöndorff, director, Germany
Jerzy Stuhr, actor/director, Poland
Béla Tarr, director, Hungary
Betrand Tavernier, director, France
Andrzej Wajda, director, Poland
Wim Wenders, director, Germany
Krzysztof Zanussi, director, Poland

Berlin, 10 June 2014

PREVIOUS, MONDAY 17:59 UK: Led by chairwoman Agnieszka Holland, the European Film Academy is urging Russian officials to immediately release arrested Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov. The Gaamer helmer has been involved in supporting the Euro Maidan protests in Kiev, and opposes the annexation of Crimea by Russia. On May 11, he is understood to have been arrested at his home in Simferopol and accused of organizing a terrorist attack. Official information is sketchy, but it is believed he has been taken to Moscow where he is facing trial, and, that he will be defended by Pussy Riot attorney Dmitry Dinze. Sentsov appeared in the Rotterdam Film Festival with Gaamer in 2011. At the International Film Festival of Odessa the next year, he won a pitching prize with his follow-up project Rhino. From Kiev, where Holland is attending the Ukraine Thinking Together Conference, she said today, “We know that every time when artists start to be suppressed by a political regime, this regime becomes a dictatorship.” Russian film union KinoSoyuz has also lent its voice to the cause saying Sentsov’s detention has “already caused serious damage to the image of our country in the international arena,” and noting the “inadmissibility of such action.” The EFA added, “In support of its friends and colleagues in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere in the world in their struggle for free artistic expression, the EFA Board cannot tolerate it when people are persecuted for political reasons and wishes to underline its firm belief in the free expression of opinion as an essential and basic value of any democratic society.”