• The protest included "Butterfly Vision" producers Darya Bassel, Yelizaveta Smit
  • International community shouldn't hide reality of the ongoing war: Bassel
  • The protest was not the first seen at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival

Ukrainian filmmakers have launched a protest against Russian “genocide” at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

On Wednesday, members of the production team for “Butterfly Vision,” a film by Ukrainian director Maksym Nakonechni, lined up on the red carpet to plead the world to remember their country is suffering amid its ongoing war with Russia.

The team, which included actress Rita Burkovska and producers Darya Bassel and Yelizaveta Smit, held the protest in front of Salle Debussy, one of the largest theatres in Cannes, holding a banner that read, “Russians kill Ukrainians. Do you find it offensive or disturbing to talk about this genocide?”

The protesters also demonstrated the ongoing air raids in Ukraine with mournful sirens wailing all around the red-carpet stairs. They also showed the extent of Russian censorship by covering their faces with translucent signs bearing the cross-eyed logo used to indicate censored content on social media and a text that read “sensitive content.”

Before the protest, Bassel told Variety that the purpose of the gesture was to remind the people that “since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine, a lot of war-related visual content in social media was automatically hidden as sensitive and disturbing.”

She also urged the international community to tackle Ukraine’s suffering head-on instead of trying to hide its “discomforting” reality. “Sometimes people prefer not to think too much while Ukrainians are being killed,” she said.

“It’s not about coming to Cannes to have fun or coming to Cannes to do business. For us, it’s only about delivering the message to the world. We couldn’t imagine using this time for anything else,” she said of the protest.

Set before the current war, “Butterfly Vision” centers on the journey of a female soldier who escapes from Russia and comes back home to Ukraine after being held as a war prisoner.

Meanwhile, the recent protest was not the first seen at Cannes. On May 20, an unidentified naked woman also appeared on the red carpet ahead of the premiere of George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” to protest the alleged assaults committed by Russian soldiers on Ukrainian women.

Workers set up the official poster for the 75th Cannes Film Festival on the facade of the Palais des Festivals
Workers set up the official poster for the 75th Cannes Film Festival on the facade of the Palais des Festivals AFP / Valery HACHE