CLEVELAND — The 46th Cleveland International Film Festival announced its annual lineup for this year’s festival and not included are films produced by Russian-based companies or funded in any way by the Russian Federation. 

What You Need To Know

  • The 2022 Cleveland International Film Festival will not include any films made by Russian companies

  • The decision means that two films, “No Looking Back” and “Unclenching the Fists” will be banned from the festival

  • Two films from Ukraine, including one depicting the nation’s conflict with Russia, will be included in the festival

  • This year’s festival starts March 30

The film festival said that the decision to ban Russian-made films affected two entries: “No Looking Back” and “Unclenching the Fists.” According to IMDB, “Unclenching the Fists” was Russia’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category for the 2022 Academy Awards.

The decision to ban the films was made due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

“The Ukrainian Film Academy and European Film Academy, along with numerous Ukrainian artists, filmmakers, and others, have called on institutions worldwide to cancel cultural partnerships with the Russian Federation,” the Cleveland International Film Festival said in a statement. “The unlawful and brutal actions of the Russian government are being challenged across the globe. While we embrace artistic freedom and have not based our decision on the content or storytellers of any particular film, we must recognize that freedom itself now hangs in the balance in Ukraine.”

This year’s festival is slated to get underway March 30. More than 300 films are part of this year’s festival. While Russian-made films are being excluded, two Ukraine films will be part of the festival — “Klondike” and “107 Mothers.”

The Cleveland International Film Festival says "Klondike" is a movie set on the Ukraine/Russia border and is based on the true events surrounding the war in Donbas and the catastrophic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.