The director of the 2017 documentary film about Oleg Sentsov’s arrest by the Russian authorities spoke to Hromadske about the political prisoner’s condition and plans. He also revealed how their film collaboration works.
Askold Kurov, a film director from Russia, last met with Sentsov on March 1, when he visited him in jail in the northern Russian town of Labytnangi. According to Kurov, Sentsov is doing well given the situation: he has recovered after the hunger strike, does sports, but, most importantly, he is working a lot on new film scripts. This “experiment” (that’s how Kurov refers to Sentsov’s co-directing from prison) involves staying in touch with the film crew via email and his lawyer. This way Sentsov manages to approve storyboards, and casting decisions among other things.
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Regarding the international attention to Sentsov’s case, Kurov noted that international filmmaker community does try to keep the focus on the problem, but it is difficult considering it has been five years since Sentsov’s arrest by Russian authorities for “organizing a terrorist group”. One of the ways the public is reminded of the problem is through screening of documentaries at different film festivals. Beldocs 2019, the annual documentary film festival in Belgrade, Serbia, saw two films about court trials: “The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov” by Kurov himself, as well as Ukrainian film director Sergei Loznitsa’s “The Trial”, which shows real footage of a 1930 Soviet trial originally used for propaganda purposes. On top of that, a panel discussion was held after the screenings of the two films (programme pictured below).
READ MORE: Sentsov’s Mother Speaks Ahead of Fifth Anniversary of Arrest
Speaking about attention to Sentsov in Russia, Kurov admits that last year’s hunger strike gave the global cultural community “a very strong impulse to go on with the hardest protest ever”. Today, Sentsov’s case is not forgotten, but the discourse is not as intense as in 2018.