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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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