German theater directors are calling for the release of detained Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, who’s been charged with embezzlement. Actress Cate Blanchett and filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff are among the signees.
The list of prominent supporters backing Kirill Serebrennikov’s release is growing. On Sunday, German theater director Thomas Ostermeier and director and playwright Marius von Mayenburg spearheaded apetition demanding the release of their Russian colleague, who has been under house arrest since August 23.
We protest against the arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov. The charges against him are untenable and indicative of the fact that the intention is to silence an internationally renowned director.
Serebrennikov stands accused of having embezzled government funds for a production of Shakespeare’s „A Midsummer Night’s Dream“ that allegedly never took place. Video recordings, reviews, Facebook entries by audience members, tours to Riga and Paris, a nomination for the Russian national theatre award „Golden Mask“ and, last but not least, the programme of the Gogol Center in Moscow prove that this charge is absurd. And yet Serebrennikov stands in danger of being convicted and of receiving a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Just as disproportionate is the house arrest he has been placed under until the trial. Serebrennikov has to wear an ankle monitor, isn’t allowed to use the Internet or write emails and is only permitted to see close family members. This is in effect a communication ban, a prejudgement and a prohibition to work for one of the most famous contemporary Russian artists.
We ask the Russian public prosecution office to stop the criminal prosecution of Kirill Serebrennikov and to drop the flimsy accusations against him.
We urgently appeal to our government representatives to ensure that Serebrennikov doesn’t become the victim of a politically motivated defamation of character and doesn’t end up in prison.
1. Maren Ade (film director)
2. Benedict Andrews (theatre and film director)
3. Josef Bierbichler (actor / author)
4. Cate Blanchett (actress)
Complete list here