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12. 3. 2015

Febiofest will welcome producer Mike Downey and will join with the European Film Academy in the support of the imprisoned Ukrainian director, Oleg Sentsov

Mike Downey

IFF Prague – Febiofest will present four of Downey's productions, including Peter Greenaway's historical-biographical picture, Goltzius and the Pelican CompanyThe President (2014) about the last day of a fallen dictator was directed by a famous Iranian director, who has won awards in Cannes and Venice, Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Downey also produced Ben Hopkins' comedy, Lost in Karastan, which is an absurd satire on the topic of dictatorship, with the script co-written by the recent winner of Oscar, Pawel Pawlikowski.

Downey's section also includes Breathe Umphfumo by Mark Dornford-May, which was awarded at this year's Berlinale for its music. The South-African filmmaker expands on his successful adaptation of Bizet's Carmen, which earned him the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2005. This time, he adapted Puccini's La Bohéme, transposed to the poor environment of today's South Africa. Downey established the F&ME Company fifteen years ago and has produced more than fifty feature films and documentaries. He has also concentrated his production activities on local co-production projects, Bathory and Angels. Downey's visit is also connected with a protest event, Freedom for Sentsov. “It was during the Cannes Film Festival of 2014 that it finally became clear that Sentsov was not going to be released anytime soon. And so, with my European Film Academy Deputy Chairman’s hat on, the Academy began a campaign, which continues today: to draw attention to Sentsov’s plight and to raise money for his children and legal costs, “says Mike Downey. The Freedom for Sentsov campaign, organized by the European Film Academy, is supported by Pedro Almodóvar, Roberto Benigni, Stephen Daldry, Agnieszka Holland, Aki Kaurismäki, Mike Leigh, Antonio Saura, Volker Schlöndorff, Béla Tarr, Andrzej Wajda and many others. Febiofest will include Sentsov's Gaamer, in which the Ukrainian director cast real gamers and filmed during real gaming tournaments. Febiofest will donate the profits from the festival screenings to the bank account of the director's lawyer. The screenings of Gaamer will take place on Thursday, 26th March at 19:15, and on Friday, 27th March at 14:30. Director Oleg Sentsov actively participated in the Ukrainian protests and was also involved in food and supplies deliveries to Ukrainian soldiers blockaded at Crimean bases. In May 2014, Russian Federal Security Service arrested him on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks. Although the Russian’s claim that Sentsov has confessed, the defendants state that Sentsov was forced to confess under duress.


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