Outcry at plan by State Film agency Derzhkino to reorganize state film archive

22 August, 05:04 PM
Dovzhenko Center (Photo:Ivan Kozlenko / Facebook)

Dovzhenko Center (Photo:Ivan Kozlenko / Facebook)

State Film agency Derzhkino’s plan to reorganize the Dovzhenko Center – the Ukrainian national film archive and cultural center – has run into some stiff opposition.

After a public outcry, Derzhkino’s Public Council has issued a statement demanding that the decision to reorganize the center be rescinded, Ukrainian news website Detector-media wrote on Aug. 22.

The text of the statement says that the Public Council learned about Derzhkin’s decision from the media, and that it considers it dubious and non-transparent.

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“The decision of the State Film Agency to reorganize, and, in fact, liquidate the Dovzhenko Center, has outraged the public,’ the council said in its statement.

“And we, members of the Public Council under Derzhkino, cannot stand aside... We... were not only not informed about this decision, but learned of it from the media. In our opinion, such a decree by Derzhkino is not transparent, the motives for its adoption are not clear, which made it surprising and outright infuriating.”

The head of Derzhkino, Marina Kuderchuk, said that the main reason for the reorganization was the financial unviability of the center, the council went on.

“According to this logic, the National Art Museum, the Vernadsky Library and almost all educational institutions should be closed,” read’s the council’s statement. “We would like to remind the leaders of the State Film Agency that their tenure in office is a temporary phenomenon, while the value of art, the activities of cultural institutions are not calculated according to the logic of supermarkets.”

The council also expressed "profound distrust of the actions of the State Film Agency" and demanded that it "withdraw the decision to reorganize the Dovzhenko Center, which would destroy a successful cultural institution, and which is contrary to the national interests of Ukraine."

State Film Agency on Aug. 5 issued an order to reorganize the state-owned enterprise Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center, the Dovzhenko Center reported on Aug. 22.

The center said believes that this de-facto means the elimination of the national film archive.

In response, Derzhino stated that it didn’t plan to close down the Dovzhenko Center, and discussion of the reorganization began when the institute came under the control of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.

However, the Ministry of Culture noted that it was not informed about the decision of Derzhkino to reorganize the Dovzhenko Center and, after publicity on the Web, it initiated a discussion on leaving the film archive untouched.

Both ordinary Ukrainians and experts have stood up in defense of the Dovzhenko Center, one of Ukraine’s most successful cultural institutions. In particular, the Docudays UA film festival called on the State Film Agency to withdraw the order, and the Mystetsky Arsenal, the Ukrainian Institute and the Ukrainian PEN appealed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to stop the  reorganization.

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