Belarusian documentary ‘Courage’ sold to Arte to Germany, France – The Hollywood Reporter

Courage, Aliaksei Paluyan’s critically acclaimed documentary about the anti-Belarus movement, was acquired by the European network Arte for France and Germany before it was screened at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA). Arte is scheduled to air the series in early 2022.

Paluyan’s realistic view of events follows three members of an underground, and illegal, troupe, as they join their countrymen to fight the 26-year dictatorship of President Alexander Lukashenko. After a controversial election, thousands of people took to the streets to demand the president’s resignation. Hopes of change in what is often called “Europe’s last dictatorship” were dashed when Lukashenko brutally repressed protesters. The theater actors featured in the documentary now live in exile abroad.

Lukashenko’s crackdown has increased tensions with Western governments in Europe and the United States, who do not recognize him as the legitimate leader of Belarus. In May this year, Belarus sent a Ryanair flight over its airspace carrying opposition journalist Roman Protasevich to land at Minsk International Airport. Protasevich was arrested and officials later released a video in which Protasevich “confessed” to causing organized turmoil in the country. His family said they believe the confession was forced and coerced.

Recently, Lukashenko got in trouble with the European Union over the self-generated migration crisis. Since the beginning of summer 2021, Belarus has been accepting refugees from the Middle East, and encouraging them to flee across the border to Poland. Most were trapped in the woods along the border, facing Polish security forces watching them from behind razor wire fences.

Courage premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and had its US premiere in LA’s Laemmle theaters earlier this month. With the correct theme, the film is considered a potential dark horse for the Oscar race in the documentary category. Rise and Shine are handling world sales.

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