On 7th September 2019, the whole world breathed a sigh of relief. After five years of imprisonment, Oleg Sentsov was finally free. The whole world showed solidarity with this film director, and now he is going to pay a visit to Toruń during the 17th edition of the Tofifest IFF.
In recent years, there has virtually been no other film director, who people would talk about so much. Oleg Sentsov has become a symbol of these new turbulent times, in which an artist has to pay a high price for their independence. Back in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, where Sentsov with his wife and two children lived. To show his disapproval, the artist took part in anti-government protests. Captured by the Russian secret service, Oleg Sentsov was brought before a court.
One year later, a show trial began. He was accused of plotting to conduct terrorist attacks. During examination, the principal witness for the prosecution withdrew his statement. Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in a penal colony, regardless. In 2018, the Ukrainian film director started a hunger strike, as an act of resistance. The whole world was waiting for any news about his health condition with growing anxiety. After 145 days, the extremely exhausted artist stopped the strike, threatened with force feeding on account of his critical health condition.
The trial of Oleg Sentsov was criticised by politicians, artists, and non-government organisations alike. He received support from the luminaries of the world of culture, for example Pedro Almodóvar, Wim Wenders, Ken Loach, or Agnieszka Holland. Tofifest did not forget about the imprisoned artist, too. In 2018, we paid a tribute to the artist in the REBELS section, and screened his critically acclaimed début film Gamer.
Given this context, we are very proud to announce that Oleg Sentsov is going to be a special guest to our festival and receive the Golden Angel for Artistic Insolence. He is also going to talk about the extreme ordeal he has gone through, during a special meeting open for the public, and we already invite you to take part in it.