Belarus: from the rise and fall of Listapad to the Independent Belarusian Film Academy
SPEAKERS: Igor Soukmanov, Aliaksei Paluyan, Andrei Kutsila
MODERATOR: Barbara Wurm
Through discussion of the Listapad Festival and the Independent Belarusian Film Academy, this panel gives insight into the establishment and inner workings of the two main pillars – one historic, one contemporary – of the Belarusian film community. While Igor Soukmanov sheds light upon the festival’s origins, its importance for the Belarusian film industry, and the growing influence of the state, Aliaksei Paluyan and Andrei Kutsila represent the newly founded Independent Belarusian Film Academy: an institution founded to unite and strengthen Belarusian filmmakers, consolidate their opposition against the Lukashenka regime, and promote their activities internationally.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
Igor Soukmanov is a film expert, publicist, festival organiser, and journalist. In addition to being a member of the European Film Academy, he is also a founding member of the newly established Belarusian Independent Film Academy. He has published regularly in the film magazine Iskusstvo Kino. From 2010 to 2020, he served as programming director for the international film festival Listapad in Minsk. Since 2022, he has been a member of the programme advisory board for Odesa International Film Festival as well as a senior programmer at Warsaw International Film Festival.
Aliaksei Paluyan is a Belarusian filmmaker. During his studies at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, he made several short fiction and documentary films that screened at international film festivals. His short film Lake of Happiness (2019) was on the longlist for the Oscar selection. His debut feature-length documentary film Courage had its world premiere at the 2021 Berlinale, where it was nominated in the category of Best Documentary Film. In his work, Paluyan translates the personal and emotional stories of his native country into universal themes.
Andrei Kutsila is a Belarusian documentary filmmaker. His documentary films have received numerous international awards. Strip and War received its world premiere at the 2019 edition of goEast Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Award. In addition, he works as a freelancer for film and television projects. Kutsila treats political and social conflicts as entangled with and indissoluble from family life, as in his most recent award-winning documentary, When Flowers are Not Silent. Kutsila left Belarus in 2021 and has since been living and working in Poland.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR:
Barbara Wurm is a cultural researcher, author, curator, and film critic, originally from Vienna. Since 2011, she has been a research associate in the section for East Slavic Literatures and Cultures at Berlin’s Humboldt University. In addition, she programmes for a variety of film festivals, including the Berlinale, where she has been chosen to take over direction of the Forum section starting in August 2023. She has published widely on the topic of post-Soviet film, as well as on the work of filmmaker Dziga Vertov.