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3 November 2022, 11:57 PM

Dovzhenko film archive employees unhappy with new director

In a Facebook post on Nov. 3, the team of Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre – Ukraine’s largest film archive – expressed their outrage at the appointment of a new acting head of the organization.

On Nov. 2, the Ukrainian State Film Agency announced Julia Kazhdan as the new General Director of the Dovzhenko Center. Former head Olena Honcharuk was tapped to oversee the Cinema Museum, instead. The announcement called Kazhdan a “crisis manager.”

The appointment drew considerable public ire, as Kazhdan – a manager of dog training center Erste Hund – is seen as unqualified for the position.

Dovzhenko Centre employees called the Ukrainian State Film Agency's decision “a raider seizure,” branding Kazhdan “a crisis gauleiter.”

The message said Kazhdan’s appointment “undermines the reputation of a reliable institution who gained an international name that makes a significant contribution to cultural diplomacy, especially at the wartime,” and “devalues the work with Ukrainian film heritage.”

The employees defended the former leadership of the Dovzhenko Center, suggesting Honcharuk was “unfairly accused of inaction, bad management and improper performance of duties.”

On Oct. 28, the archive sued the Ukrainian State Film Agency, seeking to halt the “reorganization” of the Dovzhenko Center.

Back in August, the Ukrainian State Film Agency issued an order to reorganize the Dovzhenko Center, including transferring the film archive to the State Scientific Centre of Cinematography.

“The decision by the State Film Agency to reorganize – liquidate, really – the Dovzhenko Center, has outraged the public,” Honcharuk said.

Several Ukrainian cultural institutions appealed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, asking him to intervene and cancel the archive’s “reorganization.”

In October, the State Property Fund of Ukraine put two buildings of the Dovzhenko Center in Kyiv up for privatization.

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