Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov calls for sanctions against Abramovich to be lifted

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The 75th Cannes Film Festival - News conference for the film
Kirill Serebrennikov called for sanctions on Roman Abramovich to be lifted. (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier)

Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov has called for an end to sanctions on Roman Abramovich, saying he is a “patron” of the arts.

Chelsea owner Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in March amid the conflict in Ukraine.

Director Serebrennikov addressed the issue during a press conferences at the Cannes Film Festival, where his movie Tchaikovsky’s Wife is in competition.

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File photo dated 19-12-2015 of Roman Abramovich, who suffered suspected poisoning during attempts to aid peace talks in Ukraine, sources have told the PA news agency. Issue date: Monday March 28, 2022.
The director said Roman Abramovich does a lot for the arts. (PA)

Serebrennikov said that Abramovich – who is one of the investors behind his film – “helps modern art” and that he has done so for a long time.

“He has been a real patron and in Russia this patronage has always been deeply appreciated,” Screen Daily quoted him as saying.

“It’s thanks to him we have arthouse cinema.”

The filmmaker said he thought Abramovich was “one of the key people in discussions for peace” and that “we have to lift the sanctions against Abramovich”.

He shared that Abramovich’s film foundation, Kinoprime, helped to fund his last two projects.

Serebrennikov, 52, also addressed the idea of Russian culture being boycotted, saying it struck him as “unbearable”.

Director Kirill Serebrennikov poses for photographers at the photo call for the film 'Tchaikovsky's Wife' at the 75th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Kirill Serebrennikov's film is in competition at Cannes. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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“Russian culture has always promoted human values, the fragility of man, the compassion one can have,” he said.

Talking about Ukraine, he said: “It’s important to help all the victims and to help those who are sent to fight and the families have no income anymore.

"Artists have to help these people and I do so myself.”

Serebrennikov’s films include Ragin, The Student and Leto.

Tchaikovsky’s Wife, which tells the story of the composer’s wife, is one of the films being screened in competition at Cannes.

Watch: US actor and activist Forest Whitaker honoured at Cannes Film Festival

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