EFA Protests Against Dismissal of PFI Director Magdalena Sroka
Open letter to the Minister of Culture and National Heritage
Honourable Minister Prof. Dr. Gliński,
As President of the European Film Academy, and on behalf of its board,
I wish to express our deepest concerns about the dismissal
of the Head of the Polish Film Institute, Magdalena Sroka.
You may claim that that your decision is a national matter,
and that the European Film Academy should keep out of this - but it can’t!
Polish cinema does not only belong to Poland.
It is an important part of European and world culture,
so we therefore all care about it.
The Polish Film Institute is financed by private sources,
and the director can only be dismissed by the government
if she has broken the law which she hasn’t.
What you’ve done here is an expression of disrespect for culture and artistic freedom,
and that, indeed, concerns us as a European Academy.
It shows how short-sighted governments are
when trying to subjugate culture and art to their own political interests.
Instead of being proud of the achievements of Polish cinema
which belongs to the most successful film cultures in Europe,
instead of protecting and watering the beautiful plant that is growing in your garden,
you are cutting the water – despite the protest of the board of the Polish Institute
and ignoring the many voices from the Polish film community
that are asking you to reconsider your decision.
Perpetrating this act on the anniversary of the death of the great Andrzej Wajda
not only adds insult to injury, it is a desecration of the memory of Poland's greatest filmmaker.
We strongly support the protest of our Polish colleagues because we believe in democracy
and in governments having to serve culture and not in culture having to serve governments.
President of the European Film Academy
13 October 2017