Ukraine: European Film Academy Issues Pledge Of Support For Local Filmmakers; Kyiv Cinemas Close As Explosions Heard In Capital

The European Film Academy (EFA) has contacted its members in Ukraine pledging support amidst today’s assault on the country by Russian forces.

“We are looking at ways that we can provide practical support to members, through our association with organizations which are close on the ground in terms of borders,” EFA chairman Mike Downey told Deadline. “As the situation unfolds, we are trying to find out what help might be necessary, and at that point we can react.”

The organization is presently working out what assistance it may be able to offer, including if some particularly vulnerable members of the film and TV industries may need help leaving the country.

“There are clearly a number of individual artists who have been outspokenly critical of the Russian regime, so if this turns out to be a full-on occupation, their lives will be more endangered than they are already,” noted Downey.

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In Poland, which shares a significant border with Ukraine, the local producer’s association is meeting tomorrow to discuss how it might be able to help Ukrainian filmmakers.

There are more than 60 Ukrainian members of the EFA, all of whom have received personalized correspondence co-signed by Downey, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland and EFA director Matthijs Wouter Knol expressing “solidarity’ with their situation. The EFA has a board meeting next week at which the topic will be further discussed.

“We do realise the current daily increase of tension must have an impact on your life and health, morale and creative work,” the letter reads. “You are one of our valued members. Rest assured we stand behind you, supporting your work in the best way we can.” Scroll down to see the full missive.

People in Ukraine have been valiantly attempting to continue with their daily lives, going to work and socializing as the conflict has escalated in recent days. Earlier this week, Sky News UK reported how actors at one theater in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, were continuing to perform a stage production despite the looming threat of conflict.

However, the situation has grown significantly worse overnight, with explosions being heard on the outskirts of capital city Kyiv, leading many to stay home or flee the city. Pictures from local media showed long queues at banks as people attempted to withdraw funds, and motorways packed with cars departing Kyiv.

Today, it appears the majority of cinemas in Kyiv have been forced to temporarily close as tensions escalate.

The Planeta Kino chain confirmed to Deadline that it has closed sites for February 24 and February 25, and did not have “accurate information” about when it could resume operations, but hoped to be able to resume work “shortly”.

The company has cleared its listings for today and tomorrow, but has screenings of titles including House Of Gucci, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Uncharted on sale for February 26.

It seems certain all film and TV shoots will be halted temporarily. As Downey notes, the possibility of receiving insurance for Ukrainian productions will be effectively zero in the currant situation.

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