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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

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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