UKRAINE: Conflict of Interest and Nepotism in the local Film Industry

Categorized as Alleged Conflict of Interest, Community Posts Tagged , ,

Thanks to readers contribution, we’ve been informed of recent controversy around the integrity and transparency of cultural funding, particularly in the context of international support, in Ukraine. At the heart of this story is a substantial donation by Netflix, approximating one million dollars (!), intended to bolster Ukraine’s cultural resilience through cinema. This gesture, aimed at supporting Ukrainian filmmakers via a contest, has unfortunately been overshadowed by allegations of nepotism and conflicts of interest within the adjudicating body responsible for the allocation of these funds, the Ukrainian Film Academy.

Here is part of the email that we’ve received:

The Ukrainian judging committee and producers, responsible for dispersing the funds among Ukrainian filmmakers, allocated the money to their own projects.

When asked about this and if they were aware that such behavior is considered a ‘conflict of interest,’ the judges were unable to provide a concise response.

The situation has been met with silence, and no one seems willing to acknowledge such actions in the face of Ukraine’s heroic image. Netflix, too, may not want any scandal surrounding the funds, although it seems they are no longer interested in collaborating with these individuals.”

An article on this matter can be found in English here: “The jury of the Ukrainian Film Academy corruptly plundered grant money from Netflix” (fraza.com).

The Ukrainian version, translated by Google, is available here: “Corruption – like a virus. Netflix grants for Ukraine were received by projects of the jury: each for $15,000” (dev.ua).

Following the announcement of the competition results, Ukrainian filmmakers, who are acquainted with the identities of both the jury members and the award recipients, shared their insights and reactions on Facebook:

The following page lists the grant recipients: https://www.development.uafilmacademy.org/en/projects

Screenshots are taken from: https://www.facebook.com/uafilmacademy/posts/pfbid0ghPC54ixHJoN6Noz51qvHSd3tS7agvLbJroiF9N2xmzwiHezfntzn43pfmQ7QqEfl

The source added the following note:

Thank you for your wonderful project and initiative! Film is a powerful medium with the potential to bring about social change. In these times of misinformation and the prevalence of illiteracy, it can play a vital role in curing society. I have been telling my Ukrainian friends and colleagues that Ukraine’s challenges against the Russians (what is happening now is more of a defeat than a struggle) began long ago, with the inability to produce adequate and valuable domestically made films being one of the contributing factors. This, in turn, was a result of nepotism and corruption, partly within the Ukrainian State Film Agency.

Since 2014, Ukrainian filmmakers have produced more than 200 films supported with the money from USFA. Unfortunately, none of them have gained any international or domestic significance.”

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