Mantas Kvedaravicius’ Ukraine War Doc to Debut at Cannes After Director Killed in Russian Invasion

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The Cannes Film Festival has announced that the final movie from Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius will be screened during the upcoming 2022 edition. Kvedaravičius was filming an Ukraine-set documentary in the city of Mariupol when he was killed in early April amid Russia’s invasion of the country. The documentary, now titled “Mariupolis 2,” will screen on May 19 at Buñuel Theatre and on May 20 at Agnès Varda Theatre.

As detailed in a press release from Cannes: “As we know, the Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius, who directed ‘Barzakh’ (2011), ‘Mariupolis’ (2016) and ‘Parthenon’ (2019), was captured and murdered by the Russian army in Mariupol in early April. His fiancée, Hanna Bilobrova, who was with him at the time, was able to bring back the footage filmed there and edited it with Mantas’ editor Dounia Sichov. The film is entitled ‘Mariupolis 2,’ it was essential to show it, we added it.”

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Kvedaravičius’ 2016 documentary “Mariupolis” documented the lives of everyday citizens in Ukraine as the threat of a potential war with Russia escalated. The filmmaker returned to the city in 2022 to document the citizens, once again, following Russia’s invasion. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced Kvedaravičius’ death on April 2, writing in a statement: “While (he was) trying to leave Mariupol, Russian occupiers killed Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius.” The director was 45. A Lithuanian news agency called 15min reported that Kvedaravicius was rushed to a hospital, but could not be saved.

“We lost a creator well known in Lithuania and in the whole world, who, until the very last moment, in spite of danger, worked in Russia-occupied Ukraine,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said in a statement at the time.

The “Mariupolis 2” shooting notes read: “Do you know what is most extraordinary about Mariupol? None of it inhabitants feared death, even when it was there. Death was already present and nobody wanted to die to no avail. People supported one another at the peril of their lives. They smoke and chatted outside, in spite of the bombs. There wasn’t any money left and life had become too short to be remembered, so people were content with what they had and pushed their limits. There no longer was any past or future, no judging, no implying anything. It was heaven in hell, the delicate wings of the butterfly fluttering closer and closer to one another, the smell of death in its raw dimension. It was the heartbeat of life.”

“Mariupolis 2” is produced by Uljana Kim, Mantas Kvedaravičius and Hanna Bilobrova, Nadia Turincev and Omar El Kadi, and Thanassis Karathanos.

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