Ukraine: Film agency bans slew of Russian films and one German film

23 November 2016

According to the Ukrainian State Film Agency, it has banned at least 26 Russian tv series and films since September 2016 from being aired on television or screened in cinemas across the country in accordance with Article 15-1 of its Law on Cinematography, which prohibits content that “popularizes” or features propaganda of “aggressors”.

In addition to the Russian content, the agency also banned German action movie ‘Tschiller: Off Duty’ for allegedly portraying a Russian secret service agent in a positive light, reported Deutsche Welle on 14 November 2016.

Sergey Neretin, vice-president of the Ukrainian State Film Agency, emphasized to Ukrainian Radio Vesti on 11 November 2016 that the law is “clear” and that it allows the agency to ban a film “regardless of where it was produced”, adding that if a film shows “a positive image of law enforcement bodies of the Russian Federation, we should ban it”.

“The film’s plot involves a character played by Til Schweiger [a German actor], whose daughter is kidnapped. Criminals cut off her kidney and for whatever reason send her to Moscow. He goes after her to Moscow and in the end a ‘brave FSB major’ saves the day,” Neretin said.

In April 2016, Ukraine banned outright all Russian films and tv series released since 2014 from being screened in the country, as an amendment to its 2015 Law on Cinematography that already banned Russian military genre films. The law, however, since its inception, also applies to any film produced after 1 August 1991, but is assessed on a case-by-case basis, explained Neretin.

Also in early 2016, Ukraine’s National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting removed 15 Russian TV channels from its broadcasting providers.

UPDATE: According to the Kyiv Post on 30 November, the Ukrainian council also published a blacklist of 544 films and TV series that the film agency banned by not renewing or giving licenses for since 2014. The council’s statement was not clear as to the reasons behind banning the works, except that it falls within their work and that the list will be extended to protect their “information space”.

Conflict over Crimea creates artistic limbo
The Russia-Ukraine conflict that began in 2014, leading to the contested sovereignty of Crimea, has left artists caught in the middle of a political struggle. Artists who have performed, or plan to perform, in Crimea, or who are seen as sympathetic to either side’s position has left their works and performances banned from being heard, screened or attended in either country.

In September 2016 the Ukrainian government said it would deny entry to blacklisted Russian singers competing for the 62nd Eurovision song contest set to place in capital Kiev in May 2017 if they are found to support the separatist cause.

In February 2016, Belarusian singer Max Korzh was denied entry into Ukraine for a five-city tour because of performances he made in Crimea in 2014. In January 2016, Italian opera singer Alessandro Safina cancelled two scheduled performances in Crimea as the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture was prepared to cancel his other dates in the country if he went through with the shows in the disputed territory.

In the spring of 2014, Ukrainian band Okean Elzi and Belarusian band Lyapis Trubetskoy had their concerts cancelled in Russia as they were both seen as sympathetic to the Ukrainian movement.

Read the amended Article 15-1 of the Law of Ukraine “On Cinematography” here

Read the Law of Ukraine “On Cinematography” in full here


» Kyiv Post – 30 November 2016:
Ukraine blacklists over 500 films and TV series

» Ukrainian State Film Agency – 21 November 2016:
State Film Agency cancels registration and licenses of seven TV series

» Deutsche Welle – 14 November 2016:
Til Schweiger film banned in Ukraine

» Radio Vesti – 11 November 2016:
State agency for cinematography banned Warner Bros movie

» Radio Vesti – 11 November 2016:
State agency for cinematography banned the airing of television series “I Give You Happiness”

» Ukrainian State Film Agency – 10 November 2016:
State Film Agency cancels license and state registration of TV series “I Give You Happiness”

» Ukrainian State Film Agency – 3 November 2016:
State Film Agency cancels and invalidates rental certificate for TV series “The Untouchables”

» Ukrainian State Film Agency – 26 October 2016:
State registration cancelled and license revoked for television series “The Last Cop”

» Ukrainian State Film Agency – 24 October 2016:
State Film Agency refuses to issue state certificates, cancels registrations and invalidated rental license for another series of films

» Ukrainian State Film Agency – 9 September 2016:
State Film Agency cancels registration and invalidates rental licenses for another series of films produced by aggressor state

More from Freemuse

» 11 October 2016: Ukraine: Lawmakers vote against bill banning Russian artists

» 27 September 2016: Ukraine: Government to bar Russian singers in European song contest

» 7 July 2016: Ukraine: Belarusian singer denied entry due to Crimea concert

» 6 April 2016: Ukraine: All Russian films released since 2014 banned

» 22 January 2016: Ukraine: Italian opera singer cancels concerts in Crimea

» 23 February 2015: Ukraine: Three Russian films banned

» 15 December 2014: Ukraine: Ban on films featuring Russian actor who supports separatists

» 20 October 2014: Russia and Ukraine: Musicians caught between conflict, bitter rhetoric and outright bans

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