Newly launched Belarusian Filmmakers' Network (BFN) hosts a virtual stand at EFM as part of Diversity & Inclusion program

February 3, 2022

Belarusian Filmmakers’ Network (BFN) - a new initiative by independent filmmakers from oppressed Belarus - is hosting a virtual stand at the European Film Market 2022 (EFM). Belarus' first ever EFM stand was organized by representatives of its film industry - independent producers, directors and film critics, most of whom are living in exile.

The main aim of this stand is to show the current state of the Belarus film industry, to promote the production that was made in recent years and to help the film industry to develop further. 

“Participation in the EFM 2022 is our debut. We want to grab attention and show the international film industry what we can already do as filmmakers. Today we have dozens of talented authors who are scattered around the world by revolution and repression. Our virtual stand and participation in the EFM is a uniting and directing signal, we invite everyone from Belarus to join and we are saying to the international film industry - come and work with us, we are hungry for work. This is our first step towards an ambitious goal: the development of our own film industry as a complementary part of the modern European industry, ” - says Leonid Kalitenya, producer from the company “Running Turtle” and the initiator of the project. 

Virtual stand of BFN would have not been possible without the support of the team of EFM, the participants of the network are able to participate in the market thanks to the Diversity & Inclusion programme. 

The Virtual stand of the BFN will have three virtual film screenings: feature film “Summer of 89” (dir. Vladimir Kozlov), “The route recalculated” (dir. Maxim Shved) and the selection of animated films: “Shirey Mara” (dir. Nata Korneyeva), “When I was General” (dir. Yuri Semashko), “Kingdom of Stars” (dir. Ivan Gopienko). 

The stand will host online discussion : Saturday, 02,12 18.30 “Filmmakers at risk: the current state of dangerous film industry”. 

While many Belarusian filmmakers are currently scattered around the world, BFN's virtual stand at EFM is an attempt to unite them and offer them a sign of hope in a situation that might appear desperate.

Nowadays independent Belarusian filmmakers have to operate under harsh conditions. In the wake of a rigged 2020 presidential election and ensuing repressions, many people in the Belarusian film industry faced persecution.

Viktor Lobkovich, producer of the “Debut”, Belarus's entry in the 2019 Oscars race, has been detained. Aleksey Turovich, the director of the film “Yellow Sand”, received 6.5 years in prison. Tatyana Gatsura-Yavorska, head of the human rights film festival “Watch Docs”, is under a criminal investigation. Dozens of Belarusian filmmakers have left the country fearing persecution.

As under the current Belarusian regime non-governmental organizations cannot freely operate within the country, often facing severe crackdowns, BFN is based in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Among the filmmakers participating featured at the BFN virtual stand at EFM are Aliaksei Paluyan (director of Courage), Nata Korneyeva (director of Shirey Mara), Andrei Kutsila (director of When Flowers Are Not Silent) and Vladimir Kozlov (director of Summer of '89).

Belarusian Filmmakers’ Network (BFN) is a collective project open to all Belarusian filmmakers. BFN's aim is transparency, efficiency and integration into the European film industry. Here is the manifest of the newly launched Network.