World News

Venice Film Festival Expresses Solidarity with Ukraine But Will Not Shut Out Russian Participation


The curators of the Venice International Film Festival have said in a statement that they will not shut their doors to participants from Russia even though they stand in solidarity with Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion.


The statement expressed “full support to the Ukrainian people and to its artists” and “firm condemnation of the unacceptable military aggression by Russia.”

But added, “La Biennale di Venezia will not shut its doors to those who defend freedom of expression and demonstrate against the despicable and unacceptable decision to attack a sovereign state and its defenceless people. For those who oppose the current regime in Russia there will always be a place in the exhibitions of La Biennale, from Art to Architecture, and in its festivals, from Cinema to Dance, from Music to Theatre.”

However, the festival curators noted that they will not accept any official delegations, institutions or persons tied in any capacity to the Russian government.

The subject of boycotting Russia and its artists has become a major talking point worldwide since the country launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24. From levying economic sanctions to diminishing Russia’s presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as on streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix, several measures are underway to isolate the country.

Major Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros, Disney, Sony, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures have also distanced themselves from Russia and stalled the release of their upcoming films in the country, including the superhero movie The Batman.


The Cannes Film Festival, on Tuesday, released a statement extending its support to the Ukrainian people and denouncing the attitude of Russia and its leaders. “Unless the war of assault ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that we will not welcome official Russian delegations nor accept the presence of anyone linked to the Russian government,” the statement added.

The war against Ukraine has compelled its citizens to migrate to neighbouring countries. Ukrainian filmmakers have been busy documenting the Russian invasion and mobilising support for those who are doing so. Measures have also been undertaken to evacuate children who were part of award-winning documentaries like A House Made of Splinters.

Meanwhile, even as condemnation keeps pouring in from around the globe, over 100 Russian cinematographers denounced Kremlin’s act as “unjustifiable” in an open letter. They further demanded a stop “to military aggression against Ukraine, an immediate ceasefire, and a withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.”