August 17, 2022

Dovzhenko Center Is Under Threat of Liquidation

The Dovzhenko Center

Nina Stepanova at Dovzhenko Center Film Archive

The State Film Agency of Ukraine issued an order to reorganize the Dovzhenko Center. This order, de facto, entails the liquidation of the National Film Archive, which since 1994 has been consistently engaged in the preservation, research, and popularization of Ukrainian cinema. According to the order, all films from the collection and property of the Dovzhenko Center must be transferred to the State Institution Scientific Center of Cinematography of Ukraine, whose main activity, according to the Ukrainian state registry legal entity identifier, is higher education.

The State Enterprise Ukrainian Animation Studio will be separated from the structure of the Dovzhenko Center. Copyrights for Ukrainian animation films, currently owned by the Center, will be transferred to the newly created enterprise. Employees of the Dovzhenko Center will be notified of possible dismissal.

Thus, the State Film Agency delegates responsibility for the unique cinematographic heritage of Ukraine to a de facto “sleeping” institution that has not carried out any activity since its foundation in 2011 during Yanukovych’s time, and has no appropriate staff, relevant competencies, website, etc.

The reorganization document did not mention the Dovzhenko Center’s paper archive and museum collections, which are part of the state archive and museum funds of Ukraine, respectively, and are subject to separate legislation.

The State Film Agency decided to divide the integral collection of the Dovzhenko Center, which dates back to the 1960s, between different structures, without taking into account the proposals of the Dovzhenko Center regarding further activities and without a strategic plan for its development, as required by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 91 of 26.01.2022.

Neither in the preamble of the order, nor in their public communication, does the State Film Agency explain this decision.

The transfer of the collection of the world-renowned national film archive to a fake institution is a huge blow to the international image of the Ukrainian government. Especially during the war, when Ukraine is fighting for its own identity in blood, this step encroaches on national memory and can be considered an undermining of statehood and a betrayal of national interests.

Dovzhenko Center is the largest and only internationally recognized film archive of Ukraine, which stores more than 10,000 titles (more than 60,000 storage units) of feature, documentary, and animated Ukrainian and foreign films, more than 24,000 archival documents on the history of Ukrainian cinema, and more than 400 museum exhibits. The center is the only member of the International Federation of Film Archives in Ukraine.

The collection of the Dovzhenko Center is equal in value and volume to the collections of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the Khanenko Museum, the Museum of the History of Ukraine, and the Vernadsky Library, and is the largest collection of works of Ukrainian cinema in the world.

In order to preserve, develop, and popularize film art, the Dovzhenko Center includes the Film Fund, the Paper Film Archive, and the Film Museum, the Mediateque, a publishing house, a bookstore, the “Scena 6” film space, a film lecture hall, and the only film copying laboratory with a complete film-digital cycle in Ukraine. Such a structure meets the international standards of activities of institutions working with cinematographic heritage.

For additional materials and comments, please contact Maria Glazunova, communications officer of the Dovzhenko Center.

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