After recent withdrawals of funds allocated to documentary projects of Polish, Hungarian and Russian directors, everything seems to indicate that the phenomenon of censorship that characterized the flawed Soviet regimes of Eastern Europe until 1989 rises again at the dawn of this new century.
And the issue is even more complex. With the theme "New Resistance" the renowned East Doc Platform (EDP) proposes for its next edition (March 3 – 8 in Prague) a special space for the discussion of this worrying trend in the region of the former Soviet block.
Organized by the Institute of Documentary Film as an event for the promotion of future documentary films produced in Eastern Europe, the EDP honors its ten-year history as a space for the protection of the filmmakers of the region, who are encountering increasing difficulties to raise their critical voices in a continent that depends largely on public funding for film production.
"Authorities in Poland, Hungary and Russia have been trying to restrict the role of public funds and media. These efforts have an impact on documentary filmmaking as well as documentaries often explore pressing social and political issues and represent prime target", explains Tereza Šimíková, manager of the East Doc Platform.
On Tuesday March 6, at the heart of the EDP’s programming, will takes place the public discussion table called "New Resistance; Media, Film and Politics". Among the participating panelists stands out the presence of producer Max Tuula, who premiered in the 2017 Berlinale his film "The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov", directed by Askold Kurov, who documented the trial of filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly leading a terrorist organization against the Russian state.
The “Outriders” organization, a platform for independent journalism in Poland will also be part of the event, as well as filmmakers Filip Remunda (“Czech Journal”) and Konrad Szołajski, director of the film "The Battle with Satan", a sharp look at today’s Polish Catholicism, focusing on the fashion of exorcisms in that country, all of which is told through three girls who claim to be possessed by demons.
In a region that still unearths its Soviet past, in the multi-thematic list of documentary projects to be presented in this year's EDP there is an important attention to political, ideological and even moral issues that are still beating in the present. "Hacking Friendship" is a film that makes a parallel between contemporary trends in technology, geopolitics and ecology and the projects that the engineer Viktor Glushkov's developed in Soviet Russia, among which is the pipeline network that today is the basis of the Russian influence on Europe.
"Never Happened" is another political film that attempts to decipher the case of the death of Robo Remiás, who was allegedly killed in a car explosion for collaborating with a fugitive of the regime of Prime Minister of Slovakia Vladimír Mečiar in 1995. In a more intimate dimension, in "Boylesque" we meet Lula, an eighty-year-old man who used to organize furtive parties during communist Poland. Still marked by the death of his partner, Lula will try to recover the freshness of the past by attending the Berlin Pride Parade in the company a thirty-year-old man named Damian and his friends.