9 Sep 2019

Oleg Sentsov’s release is a momentous event for his family and supporters around the world, who have stood with him for the five years he has been unjustly jailed.

For a long time, and up until the last moment, the Russian authorities were not prepared to even discuss the possibility of Sentsov’s release, despite mounting international support for the Ukrainian filmmaker from Crimea.

Russian authorities detained Sentsov in May 2014 and sentenced him to 20 years in jail on bogus terrorism charges in August 2015. In reality, Sentsov’s crime was speaking out against Russia’s occupation of Crimea and helping to deliver food and water to Ukrainian soldiers stranded at military bases in Crimea.

Last year, Sentsov spent 145 days on an open-ended hunger strike, demanding the release of all Ukrainians held in Russia and in Crimea on politically motivated charges. In October 2018, he was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

As we celebrate the release of Oleg Sentsov, his case reminds us of the very real threat political regimes targeting creators and freedom of speech pose to our community. European filmmakers will always stand in solidarity and actively support artists at risk.

Photo ©: The European Film Academy / EFA

Contact: Pauline Durand-Vialle, CEO – pdv@filmdirectors.eu – +32 551 08 94


Note to Editors

About us:

Founded in 1980, the Federation of European Film Directors gathers 44 directors’ associations as members from 34 countries. It speaks for more than 20,000 European film and TV directors, representing their cultural, creative and economic interests at national and EU level.

Honorary President: Sir Alan PARKER (UK)

Ambassadors: Marco BELLOCCHIO (Italy), Agnieszka HOLLAND (Poland),

Michaël R. ROSKAM (Belgium), Charles STURRIDGE (UK), István SZABÓ (Hungary)

Executive Committee: Dan CLIFTON (UK), Chair, Sverre PEDERSEN (Norway), Honorary Treasurer, Karolina BIELAWSKA (Poland), Peter CARPENTIER (Germany), Klemen DVORNIK (Slovenia), Hrvoje HRIBAR (Croatia), Lou JEUNET (France), Birgitte STÆRMOSE (Denmark), Martijn WINKLER (Netherlands)

EU Transparency Register Id No. 29280842236-21




Download the PDF version of the Press Release here.