About the Worrying Situation of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre (Kyiv)

On 23 August, the FIAF President Frédéric Maire wrote to Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine; Mr. Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine; Mr. Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister for Culture and Information Policy; and Ms. Maryna Kuderchuk, Head of the Ukrainian State Film Agency, to express our Federation's deep concern about order No.100 issued by the Ukrainian State Film Agency on 5 August 5 2022 to 'reorganize' the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre, and urge them to 1) invalidate this order, and 2) take the necessary steps to introduce mechanisms ensuring the legal status of the Dovzhenko Centre as the Ukrainian State’s official film archive.

FIAF has also been monitoring the situation closely through regular contact with our colleagues in Kyiv, to whom we have reiterated our global network's solidarity and unequivocal support at this incredibly difficult time for them.

The Dovzhenko Centre – Ukraine’s de facto national film archive – has been an active and highly-respected member of our global network since 2003. As the true and internationally recognized custodian of Ukraine’s rich film heritage, it has gone a long way towards preserving this unique heritage in the best possible conditions, and giving it the visibility it deserves. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February, the Dovzhenko Centre has received significant moral and financial support from FIAF and many of its 172 other affiliated archives around the world, all recognizing the great fragility of this eminent institution and its collections in this dramatic context.

The attack on the integrity of Dovzhenko Centre’s collections and activities that the order issued by the Ukrainian State Film Agency constitutes, seriously threatens Ukraine’s unique moving image heritage. Dispersing the collections to other entities devoid of experience and expertise of preserving and valorising film heritage may deprive future generations of Ukrainians of connecting with their artistic and cultural past, and will also diminish Ukraine’s cultural influence on the international stage. At a time when Ukraine is fighting perhaps more than ever for its own identity, this decision can only undermine the country’s national interests.

Like all other film archives of our global network, the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre can only fulfil its core missions of collecting, safeguarding, and make accessible its country’s film heritage to the highest international standards if it is allowed to operate in a stable and supportive environment – even more so in times of war. Instead, the announced reorganization of the Dovzhenko Centre (and the threat to its very existence) will endanger this heritage further, and lead to the loss of all international contacts and recognition, as the Dovzhenko Centre is the only FIAF-affiliated institution in Ukraine.

You can read the statement issued by our colleagues of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre HERE.