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Almodovar, Loach Call On Putin After Crimean Filmmaker Jailed for Terrorism

Published: June 14, 2014 (Issue # 1815)



  • Crimean director Oleg Sentsov was arrested by Russia's Federal Security Bureau at his home in Simferopol.
    Photo: Oleg Sentsov / VK

About 20 European filmmakers have penned an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin demanding clarity on the fate of Crimean director Oleg Sentsov, who is being held in Moscow on charges of terrorism.

"Oleg Sentsov was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation [FSB] at his home in Simferopol on May 11 and taken to Moscow, where he is detained and awaiting trial," said the text of the letter, which was published in full by movie website screendaily.com.

In the letter addressed to State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, among others, the manifest's signatories said little was known about the condition of Sentsov.

"We urge you to ensure the safety of Oleg Sentsov; to make public the whereabouts of the detained; to have the detained charged with a recognizable offense or released; to instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB," the authors of the text, including British director Ken Loach and Spain's Pedro Almodovar, added in the letter.

An ethnic Russian, Sentsov stands accused by authorities of organizing a terrorist attack — a charge his supporters say is politically motivated.

Sentsov was a supporter of Ukraine's Euromaidan protesters, whose demonstrations led to the ouster of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych in February, and he also helped Ukrainian military officers who did not support Russia's annexation of Crimea to leave the Black Sea peninsula, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

"Sentsov is one many people arrested in Crimea and carted off to Moscow on trumped-up charges. I would hope that we can use his position as a public figure to draw attention to this. I urge our brave friends and colleagues in the Russian industry to speak out," British producer Mike Downey, a signatory of the letter, was quoted as saying.

If found guilty, Sentsov faces up to 10 years in prison under Russian law — the minimum term available for those convicted of terrorism-related charges.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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