Film festivals: are they opportunities to hang out with friends or drivers of change? Public discussion

What are festivals for? Are they places for escapism and the apolitical contemplation of art on the big screen, or are they an opportunity to take an articulate stance and promote social changes which match the values and beliefs of the festival?

It seems so easy: deny participation to films from the aggressor country, organise special screenings representing marginalised groups, call for peace and justice. But where is the line between sincere activism and the demonstrative evasion of responsibility?

As we think about images of the future, we will discuss the ethical challenges which festivals have faced, and the way the path we have walked shapes the vision of a contemporary film festival.


Bohdan Zhuk, Eva Križková, Marko Grba Singh, Myrocia Watamaniuk

Alex Malyshenko, film journalist, publishing editor of the Moviegram online publication about cinema, programme director of the Mykolaichuk OPEN festival


Bohdan Zhuk is a programmer for the Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist, Ukraine’s biggest film event (51st edition took place in December 2022). With education in linguistics and professional background as translator, journalist and radio host, he joined the Molodist team in 2014 as a press attaché (till 2015) and programmer. He programs competition and non-competition sections of Molodist and curates its LGBTQ+ program SUNNY BUNNY, Ukraine’s oldest regular queer-themed event (since 2001). In 2023 SUNNY BUNNY becomes a queer film festival, Ukraine’s first, to take place in June this year, with Zhuk as its co-founder and director.
Zhuk also manages international events of Molodist dedicated to Ukrainian films: programs at festivals – Encounters (Bristol, UK), BEAST (Portugal), Jugendfilmtage (Zurich, Switzerland), Soura (Berlin), QueerScope festivals (Germany & Switzerland), image+nation (Montreal, Canada), as well as Ukrainian film days abroad (Munich, London, Paris, Porto, Prague etc.). He also works in the selection team of the BEAST International Film Festival (Porto), in communications (British Council Ukraine) and translates films for national releases and festival screenings.

Jury member at Teddy Awards (Berlinale), BEAST IFF (Porto), image+nation (Montreal), TLVFest (Tel-Aviv), Crime & Punishment IFF (Istanbul), Mezipatra QFF (Prague).

Eva Križková graduated from Films studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. As a co-founder, PR and project manager of the Filmtopia distribution company, she has extend experience with the distribution of documentary and arthouse cinema. In 2010-2019, she was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Kinečko film magazine, which has provided a platform for an open and erudite debate of Slovakia’s cinema community. Since 2019 organizes an International festival of documentary films One World Slovakia as it´s executive director. She is currently finishing work on her documentary feature debute Birdhill.

Marko Grba Singh was born in 1988 in Belgrade, Serbia. He is currently on PhD studies in Film Directing at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. His short documentaries At Least We’ve Met (2012) and Pale (2013) premiered at Visions du Réel. His first mid-length film Abdul & Hamza (2015) won a Special Mention at FIDMarseille. His short film If I Had It My Way I Would Never Leave was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the ACID Section in 2017.
Since 2018 he has served as the Artistic Director of BELDOCS, the Belgrade International Documentary Film Festival. His first feature film Rampart (2021) premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.

Myrocia Watamaniuk is Senior International Programmer at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto. She has programmed fiction and non-fiction features and shorts for over 20 years at the Toronto International Film Festival, Aspen ShortsFest, and the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival. She is a television broadcaster and producer for CBC News, CBC Toronto and Rogers TV.

Alex Malyshenko is afilm journalist, the publishing editor of the Moviegram online publication about cinema, and the programme director of the Mykolaichuk OPEN festival, which was founded when Russia’s full-scale invasion was already underway. Last year he co-organised several film events in Kharkiv and Mykolayiv. He writes about cinema for various Ukrainian publications such as, The Village Ukraine, the printed media of the revived Kinokolo which is being prepared for publishing, the multidisciplinary project DTF Magazine,, L’Officiel and others.




05 June 2023
 31 — 9 
June 2024