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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Arts in Society

A Screening of Mediazona Documentary Films (2024) and Q&A with Director Egor Isaev

When:Th 30-05-2024 18:00 - 20:00
Where:Jantina Tammeszaal, University Library

Mediazona is one of the leading independent media from Russia. The award-winning media outlet has been covering political repressions and human rights violations for over ten years: unfair trials, police violence, tortures, prisoners and persecution of political activists. Mediazona was co-founded in 2014 by Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of the protest group and punk-band Pussy Riot. The media is led by political journalist Sergey Smirnov.

Mediazona and its journalists are persecuted by the authorities in Russia – in 2021, it was labeled with a discriminatory status of a "foreign agent". After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 most of the team was forced to leave the country under the threat of criminal prosecution. Despite this, Mediazona still finds opportunities to report on events in Russia – and produce documentary films about them.

The Document section of Mediazona's YouTube channel shows observational documentaries about what is happening today in Russia and on its borders, especially focusing on topics such as repressions, political activism and the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The Frontier. The story of Anastasia, a young woman from Kharkiv, who tried to take her mother-in-law out of the occupied village and was detained by Russian security forces. Russian human rights activists and lawyers are sent to get Anastasia out of the detention center where she was held and tortured.

The Dog Haul. Buryatia became the first region to legalize the killing of stray animals. Putin then signed a law allowing local authorities to decide for themselves how to control the number of stray dogs. The documentary film tells the story of animal rights activists who rescue animals by registering them for themselves and sending them to other regions of Russia.

A Farewell to Alexei Navalny. Chronicling the Funeral. On 1 March, Alexei Navalny's funeral was held in Moscow. Thousands of people came to honor the memory of the murdered politician. The queue from the church to Borisovsky cemetery, where he was buried, stretched for several kilometers. "Mediazona" travelled all this way with people who came to say goodbye to the opposition politician. Their thoughts, dialogues and moods are shown in the film.

About the director

Egor Isaev is a film director and head of the documentary film projects at the Russian media-in-exile Mediazona. He holds an MA in Public History from the University of Manchester and an AFA in Film Directing from the Moscow Film School (supervised by A. Popogrebskiy and A. Khlebnikov). He was a Senior Lecturer at the Media Department of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow (2014-2022) and a visiting lecturer at the European Humanities University Vilnius and the Ruhr-University, Bochum. He is currently a fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, Amsterdam.