Global rights management company Eccho Rights has licensed “Servant of the People,” the 2016 series created by and starring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, to Channel 4 in the U.K., MBC in the Middle East, ANT 1 in Greece and PRO TV in Romania, in solidarity with Ukraine and Zelensky.
Fredrik af Malmborg, managing director at Eccho Rights, said: “Eccho Rights stands in solidarity with our friends and partners in Ukraine. It is our position that the best support the global television industry can offer to Ukraine today is to share this story.”
Three seasons of the series and feature film are available to license from Eccho Rights.
Nicola Söderlund, managing partner at Eccho, said: “The series is a comedy but also an important document of where Zelensky comes from. His fictional president is a normal man, who grows into his role as a heroic and adored leader. While the real world scenario facing Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian people is far more grim and appalling than the comedy of the series, there are obvious parallels with the real world situation, and “Servant of the People” is a fascinating, important and historic piece of television.”
Eccho Rights has also pledged a donation of €50,000 ($55,460) to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, to help to assist victims of the war and have removed all Russian-owned and produced series from their catalogue.
The Estonian film industry has called for a boycott of films from warring Russia and Belarus and has asked all Estonian filmmakers to sign the Ukrainian Film Academy’s petition to declare a boycott of Russian cinema.
“The entire Estonian film industry calls on their government to implement extraordinary temporary measures to ban the production and distribution of state-sponsored audiovisual films from Russia and Belarus in Estonia, and to suspend cooperation in filmmaking and culture with their autocratic regimes until the war in Ukraine stops and the subsequent situation satisfies the international community,” Estonian industry representatives said in a statement on Wednesday.
“As filmmakers, we are acutely aware that the situation for our fellow filmmakers in those countries will be markedly harder under the international boycott. Hence, we appeal to you, Russian and Belarusian friends and filmmakers. Muster all your strength and creativity and act decisively against the inhuman actions of your leaders! We encourage you to take collective responsibility for the fate of your countries and nations,” the statement added. “We support all the filmmakers of Russia and Belarus who oppose the regimes of Putin and Lukashenko.”
The statement also lauds an appeal by Belarusian filmmakers who have strongly condemned Russian military aggression against Ukraine and says that the Estonian film industry is doing its best to assist Ukrainian refugees in finding professional work and accommodation.
Signatories to the statement include Estonian Filmmakers’ Association, Estonian Film Institute, Estonian Screenwriters’ Guild, Estonian Film Directors’ Guild, Estonian Documentary Guild, Estonian Society of Cinematographers, Estonian Film Industry Cluster, Estonian National Film Producers Union, Association of Estonian Film Producers, Baltic Film, Media and Arts School/Tallinn University, Department of Animation/Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Animation Association, Estonian Film Journalists’ Association, Estonian Association of Audiovisual Authors, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Cinema Artis/Tallinnfilm OÜ, Cinema Tartu Elektriteater, Cinema Sõprus, Cinema Võrgukuur, Estonian Film Museum/Estonian History Museum, The Association of Professional Actors of Estonia and Film Archive of the National Archives of Estonia.