24.11—17:00 (GMT +2)
After the 2020 revolution and subsequent severe repressions in Belarus, thousands of people were forced to flee their homes and start life anew. Now, independent Belarusian filmmakers reside all over the world but are unable to travel back to their homeland and film there. The risk of being imprisoned and subjected to torture is way too high to take it. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, little has changed in the Belarusian film industry. Even with international funding, independent filmmaking has been barely surviving since then. In 2020, the hope for development and change was pushed even further back, and now independent Belarusian cinema has to find ways to survive and thrive in exile. How do we solidify the community in exile and find resources and mechanisms to move on in life and filmmaking? We explore Belarusian, Estonian, and international experiences.
Facing displacement and building a film community in exile
Nordic Hotel Forum, Tallinn
Joint panel discussion organized by the Northern Lights Nordic Baltic Film Festival in Belarus and the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

Language of the event: English
Andrei Kutsila
Is a filmmaker with over ten documentaries to his name. In 2007, he earned a degree in journalism from the Belarusian State University, and two years later, he graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of Arts. He fulfills himself as a freelancer and works on television projects. In 2018, he won the IDFA Award in the Best Medium-Length Documentary Film category for "Summa". In 2019, he was awarded the Silver Hobby-Horse for the best documentary in the National Competition of the Kraków Film Festival. His documentary "When Flowers Are Not Silent" won the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2021. In 2021, Andrei left Belarus, and since then he has lived and worked in Poland.
Sasha Kulak
Is a director, DOP, and photographer. Together with commissioned fashion, music, and identity-building projects for brands, Sasha's portfolio includes a variety of independent cultural projects made in collaboration with young talents across the globe. In 2022, at DOK Leipzig Festival, she presented a feature film "A Hawk as Big as a Horse" (2022, 77'), which was produced with the support of Arte France and a grant recieved from the Sundance Institute. Earlier this year, the film Mara (2022, 61') was premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. It is a hybrid documentary video essay about Belarusian protests in the summer of 2020.
Volia Chajkouskaya
Is the founder and program director of the Northern Lights Nordic Baltic Film Festival, a producer and film director from Belarus, currently living in Estonia. She started off with journalism studies and has 11 years of working experience in the media. Volia also obtained a Masters Degree in directing and producing documentary films at the Baltic Film and Media School (Tallinn, Estonia). She launched Volia Films production company in 2016, which produced a full-length documentary, The Road Movie (dir. Dmitrii Kalashnikov), the same year. The film was world premiered at the IDFA First Appearance Competition and was screened at more than 80 festivals. In 2019, Volia joined the production company Allfilm as a producer and director. Currently, she has three projects in active stages.
Alina Koushyk
Is the Representative of the United Transitional Cabinet for National Revival. She has a degree in history and has founded numerous social projects. For the past 15 years, she has worked at Belsat TV as a journalist, TV host, and producer. In addition, Alina co-founded the Center for Belarusian Solidarity in Warsaw and InBelKult 2.0, as well as Belarusian's Women Club in Warsaw. She masterminded the Belarusian business map www.bymapka.me.
Marianna Kaat
Is an award-winning director and producer. Her main professional interest remains the production of creative non-fiction films with a strong focus on Eastern-European subjects. As a producer, she worked with world-famous Belarusian director Yuri Khashchavatski on "Ploshcha (Kalinovsky Square)", 2008, and "Lobotomy", 2010. Marianna is also an Associate Professor at Tallinn University's Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School, where she teaches documentary practice and history.
Ben Dalton
Is an international reporter at Screen International, based in London, UK. He attends and reports from major international festivals and markets, including Cannes, Venice, and Berlin. Dalton covers the whole film chain, from development, production, sales, and distribution, to festivals, markets, awards, and exhibitions.
discussion organizers