“Movies cannot change things, but they can change individuals”. Askold Kurov’s film on Sentsov’s imprisonment

The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov (Poland 2017, 75 min)

August 2015, a courtroom in Rostov. A man is peering through the bars of his cage, his eyes reveal that his nerves are about to snap. Today he will be handed down a sentence to which he must submit: 20 years’ imprisonment in Siberia for terrorism. The man is Oleg Sentsov, a film director and Maidan activist born in Simferopol in Crimea, Ukraine. He is charged with leading an anti-Russian terrorist movement and having planned attacks on bridges, power lines and a monument of Lenin during the Russian annexation. Askold Kurov investigates the truth behind this political show trial.

‘The Trial’ is sponsored by the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa.

“The film, in interviews with lawyers and court testimonies, leaves no doubt that the case is a complete fabrication, based on a modicum of actual or intended low-grade violence, unrelated to Sentsov. … This vital film, made with the involvement of film institutions from five East European countries, is also revealing on the meaning of Ukrainian national identity,” wrote Dominique Arel (Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Ottawa).

Born in Uzbekistan in 1974, Askold Kurov has lived in Russia since 1991. After studying philology, theatre, and theology and working for eight years as a package designer, he earned a degree in documentary filmmaking at the Marina Razbezhkina Film School in Moscow. In 2012, he was one of the directors of the award-winning documentary Winter, Go Away! His next films Leninland and Children 404 also won critical acclaim and screened at numerous festivals. His work focuses on human rights issues and social conflicts in contemporary Russia.

More information: https://www.danyliwseminar.com/askold-kurov