Spotlight on Film Festivals in Ukraine Today

Accounts, Responses, Calls to Action




Ukraine, Film festivals, War, Boycott of Russian culture, Cultural diplomacy, Trauma


This roundtable begins with each festival organizer explaining how the outbreak of the current war in Ukraine affected the planning and organizing of their respective film festivals. The discussion that unfolds conveys that the festival organizers stand quite united in their responses to the situation, despite differences in geographic proximity to ongoing hostilities on the ground and opportunities available for drafting up alternative scenarios. They engage in cultural diplomacy and collaborate with international colleagues to create visibility for Ukrainian culture and people. Moreover, there is a shared belief in the need for a boycott of Russian culture. The edited transcript presents detailed argumentation in favor of the Russian cultural boycott as well as responses to concrete issues that had media coverage. Other themes discussed concern the role cinema and film festivals can play in the face of war. The participants acknowledge the trauma that is being inflicted on the Ukrainian people and express hope that safety will be restored quickly, for this is a basic condition necessary to start thinking about and giving substance to the role of cinema and film festivals in dealing with the trauma of war.

Author Biographies

Skadi Loist, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF

Skadi Loist is a Juniorprofessor (assistant professor) for Production Cultures in Audiovisual Media Industries at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in Potsdam, Germany, researching film festivals, global cinema and film circulation, queer film culture, sustainability and equity, and diversity and inclusion in screen industries. Loist is principal investigator (PI) of the research project “Film Circulation on the International Film Festival Network and the Impact on Global Film Culture” (BMBF 2017–22) as well as lead PI of the international research project “GEP Analysis: Assessing, Understanding, and Modeling the Impact of Gender Equity Policies (GEP) in the Film Industry” (DFG/ESRC/SSHRC 2021–24). Loist cofounded the Film Festival Research Network (FFRN) in 2008, cochairs the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS) Film Festival Research Workgroup, has worked many years with queer film festivals, and is on the editorial board of NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies.

Marijke de Valck, Utrecht University

Marijke de Valck is associate professor of film and media studies at Utrecht University, where she codirects the master’s program in film and television cultures. Her research deals with film festivals, transnational media cultures, media industries, and art cinema. She cofounded the Film Festival Research Network (FFRN) in 2008, is cochair of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS) Film Festival Research Workgroup, coedits the festivals review section in NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, and coedits the Framing Film Festival book series with Palgrave MacMillan. She has published widely on the topic of film festivals, including the coedited book Rethinking Film Festivals in the Pandemic Era and After, which is published under an Open Access license (2022).




How to Cite

Loist, Skadi, and Marijke de Valck. 2023. “Spotlight on Film Festivals in Ukraine Today: Accounts, Responses, Calls to Action”. Journal of Festive Studies 4 (1):116-34.