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Cannes Film Festival bans Russian journalists for war in Ukraine (Exclusive)

The Cannes Film Festival has refused press accreditation to a number of Russian journalists this year, as part of its stance against that country following its invasion of Ukraine.

According to two Russian journalists who have been accredited several times by the festival in the past but were refused this year, a group of Russian media members who had applied for credentials spoke to Cannes press chief Agnès Leroy at the weekend.

They said Leroy told them the festival had been “waiting for things to improve” between Russia and Ukraine before making a decision on Russian credentials – but with the festival starting less than two weeks away, they said that Leroy told them that the festival had decided to refuse credentials to all Russian journalists.

In an email to TheWrap, Leroy said, “We have only approved media that agrees with the Festival’s position regarding the situation in Ukraine.” She did not respond to a follow-up question asking whether Cannes had accredited Russian journalists.

The festival’s position on Russia was set out in a statement released on March 1. She said in particular: “Unless the assault war ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that we will not receive official Russian delegations. nor accept the presence of anyone linked to the Russian government.

The implication, then, is that the journalists who have been denied accreditation are “linked to the Russian government” or are official representatives of the country in some way.

“I pointed out that my website has no connection with the government, but there is probably no way for them to verify this information,” journalist Ekaterina Karslidi, who is accredited every year, told TheWrap. year since 2015.

“Cannes’ understanding of being in line with Cannes’ policy towards Ukraine does not match the reality that Russian journalists face. I fled Russia this year and talk about the war on social media, including on my own movie blog, but I can’t use my media to express myself because it would put my staff at risk.

Another reporter who declined to be identified by name agreed. “We were simply ignored and turned down ten (!) days before the festival,” the journalist wrote to TheWrap. “I feel like they didn’t know how to define who is who and decided to turn us all down to save themselves some trouble.”

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A Russian filmmaker, Kirill Serebrennikov, has a film in the official selection at this year’s festival. Acclaimed filmmaker and director Serebrennikov is considered a dissident and has been targeted by the Russian government with fraud charges that have kept him under house arrest. He left the country earlier this year and is in the main competition at Cannes with the historical drama “Tchaikovsky’s Wife”.

Cannes is one of the largest film festivals in the world and hosts around 4,000 journalists from around 75 countries. The festival will start on Tuesday May 17 and will continue until May 28.

Here is the statement on Russian participation in this year’s festival:

While the world is hit by a heavy crisis in which part of Europe finds itself in a state of war, the Cannes Film Festival wishes to give its full support to the Ukrainian people and to all those who find themselves on its territory.

However modest it may be, we add our voices to those who oppose this unacceptable situation and denounce the attitude of Russia and its leaders.

Our hearts go out in particular to Ukrainian artists and film industry professionals, as well as their families whose lives are now in danger. There are those we have never met, and those we met and welcomed at Cannes, who came with works that say a lot about Ukraine’s history and present.

During this winter of 2022, the Cannes Film Festival and the Marché du Film have entered their preparation phase. Unless the assault war ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people, it has been decided that we will not host official Russian delegations or accept the presence of anyone connected to the Russian government.

However, we would like to salute the courage of all those in Russia who took risks to protest against the assault and invasion of Ukraine. Among them are artists and film professionals who have never ceased to fight against the contemporary regime, who cannot be associated with these unbearable actions, and those who bomb Ukraine.

Faithful to its history, which began in 1939 in the resistance to the Fascist and Nazi dictatorship, the Festival de Cannes will always be at the service of artists and professionals who raise their voices to denounce violence, repression and injustice, with the main aim of defend peace and freedom. .

The Cannes Film Festival team

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