'Mariupolis' director killed in Ukraine to have final film shown at Cannes

The Lithuanian filmmaker will be honoured at the French film festival

Mantas Kvedaravicius's film 'Mariupolis 2' will get a special screening out of competition. Photo: imago/Seeliger
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The final film by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius, who was killed by Russian forces in Ukraine last month, will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, organisers said on Thursday.

Kvedaravicius was shooting a follow-up to his celebrated documentary, Mariupolis, about the conflict in the Donbas region, when he was reportedly captured and killed.

His fiancee, Hanna Bilobrova, who was with him in the besieged city of Mariupol, brought his footage out of the country and it was put together by his editor, Dounia Sichov.

Hanna Bilobrova, partner of Lithuanian film director Mantas Kvedaravicius who was found dead in Mariupol, Ukraine, during an interview with Reuters in Vilnius, Lithuania on April 14, 2022. Reuters

In a last-minute addition to the line-up, the resulting film, Mariupolis 2, will get a special screening out of competition at Cannes on Thursday and Friday, May 19 and 20.

A statement from the festival read: "It was essential to show it".

The original documentary by Kvedaravicius, who was a trained anthropologist, won widespread praise after it was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2016.

According to the Cannes statement, he returned to the region this year "to be with the people he had met and filmed in 2014 and 2015".

"Following his death, his producers and collaborators have put all their strength to continue transmitting his work, his vision, his films," it said.

The war in Ukraine has become a central feature of the 75th Cannes Film Festival.

Ukrainian director Sergey Loznitsa will present a timely film out of competition, The Natural History of Destruction, about the bombing of German cities in the Second World War.

Newcomer Maksim Nakonechnyi is competing in the Un Certain Regard section with Butterfly Vision, about a traumatised veteran of the early fighting in Donbas.

A special day has also been dedicated to its beleaguered filmmakers at the industry marketplace that takes place alongside the competition.

Updated: May 13, 2022, 6:31 AM