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Russia and Israel sign joint film cooperation agreement despite war in Ukraine

Most international film companies have pulled their business out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022

Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova and Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi sign a film cooperation agreement, September 6, 2023 (Photo: Russian Culture Ministry)

Israel and Russia signed a film cooperation agreement in Moscow on Wednesday.

The agreement will allow directors from both countries access to film archives and cooperate in joint film production. It will also allow films from one country to be shown in film festivals in the other country.

“I know how much the professional community has been waiting for this document, and how useful it will be for joint work," said Russian Ministry of Culture Director Olga Lyubimova.

"There are a lot of plans ahead, and I am sure this agreement will help take our joint work to a new level.”

Initial work on the agreement first began in 2009, according to Russia's Culture Ministry.

Israeli Ambassador in Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi said the agreement could lead to joint films that would enrich both countries culturally.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of joint films. Producers are interested in sharing experiences with each other. Israeli films are very strong and shot at a high level. The Russian public will be able to appreciate them,” Ben Zvi said.

The timing of the joint Israel-Russia announcement seems particularly odd, as most international film companies have pulled their film businesses out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Major Hollywood studios, such as Disney, Sony, Universal Pictures, Paramount and WarnerMedia have even halted distribution of their movies filmed in Russia.

However, the Israeli government has said maintaining ties with Russia is important in order to coordinate operations against Iranian groups in Syria.

It has refused to publicly condemn Russia for the invasion. However, Israel has also sent several shipments of medical and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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