Officials prevent screening of Wajda’s film, Katyn, in St Petersburg

posted 30 Nov 2015, 04:03 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Nov 2015, 04:16 ]
26 November 2015

Source: (info)
It is highly symptomatic that the department of the Ministry of Culture for the north-west federal district confuses 'Khatyn' and 'Katyn.' However, the Ministry is in fact trying to prevent a screening of Andrzej Wajda’s film about the mass executions of Polish prisoners of war by the Soviet NKVD in 1940.

According to the Memorial Research & Information Centre in St Petersburg, the officials have practically forbidden screening Andrzej Wajda’s film “Katyn”. A letter to this effect from the Ministry of Culture has been delivered to the NGO. In the letter, the officials called the film “Khatyn.”

This is what Memorial Research & Information Centre itself told MR7:

“Today we have received a warning from the department of the Ministry of Culture for the north-west federal district about a on the screening of the film 'Khatyn' (sic) without a distribution certificate. According to the law, the fine for such an ‘administrative violation’ is in the region of 50,000 to 100,000 roubles.

“In this regard, the Joffe Foundation is forced to postpone screening the film Katyn by Andrzej Wajda until the differences with the Ministry of Culture have been settled.

“We point out that Andrzej Wajda’s film Katyn has been repeatedly shown on state television, and in the capital’s House of Cinema and Central House of Writers.

“The film director Andrzej Wajda has given Memorial unlimited rights to screen the film. The non-profit screening of the film on 26th November 2015 had been planned within the framework of an international film festival, something permitted under current legislation.

"As from 1st July 2014, the federal law “On the state support of cinematography of the Russian Federation”, introduced a new article (5.2), 'The distribution certificate for a film,' which been widely criticised by leading representatives of the Russian film industry.

"Furthermore, in July 2014 the press office of the Ministry of Culture issued a statement: 'In reality, the receipt of distribution certificates is compulsory for all without exception for any movie, and the administrative responsibility for breaking this regulation can, at a later stage, lead to a sharp decrease in non-commercial film screening.' However, up till now the law has remained unchanged and has already been a serious blow to independent film festivals and film clubs in Russia.

"We are aware that the given law is being used for political purposes. In particular, on the basis of this, a screening of the film Katyn was cancelled in October 2015 in Tyumen.

"We can say with certainty that the screening of the film Katyn in St Petersburg will take place. We shall announce the future date for the screening.”

Translated by Frances Robson