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Remembering Our 'Unknown Belarus' Colleagues

RFE/RL is devastated by the loss of Vladimir Mikhailovski and Maksim Gavrilenko, two colleagues with the documentary project “Unknown Belarus,” who died in a car accident on May 13 in Belarus. We mourn Lyubov Zemtsova, the project's director, who died on May 22 from injuries sustained in the crash.


(l-r) 'Unknown Belarus' sound engineer Maksim Gavrilenko, director Vladimir Mikhailovski, and documentary filmmaker Lyubov Zemtsova.

The Institute of Documentary Film remembers Lyubov Zemtsova and Vladimir Mikhailovski with the special screening of The Place of Love during Documentary Monday at Světozor Cinema (Small Hall) in Prague on June 8, at 8:45 pm. The film will be also available online in the Czech Republic for 24 hours at Dafilms.cz.

About the Film

“The Place of Love” under its roof unites dramatic stories of 4 distinctive characters: Vadim, local Don Juan, breaks girls' hearts, but suffers from deep solitude; Tanya possessively desires to marry her beloved man and defends her love from rivals; Olya, young pure soul, whose attention many boys search for, becomes the centre of shaming; Denis can’t choose between two women passionately in love with him. Every day they visit a social centre for leisure pastime for people with very light mental disabilities. Affected by social stigma they can’t find a job or get an education, are treated as helpless kids and not taken seriously.

“Lyuba Zemtsova is sharp-eyed, she notices everything - every detail, nuance; gathers and accumulates until it builds an image. Documentary filmmaking essentially aims to capture the main thing in reality, not shape it. We worked together on the documentary project "15 minutes of Belarus." We also walked around the old cemetery and small shops and bought random stuff -- silver hairpins, silk scarves.”

Svetlana Kurs, writer and journalist

“Just a few months ago, Lyuba and I actively discussed how to finish her long-term project “Raising Artyom.” This project was all Lyuba. For all her cheerfulness, she took very complex topics for films. She shot and helped her characters at the same time. They, together with Vova Mikhailovski and Maksim Gavrilenko [other colleagues who were killed in a car accident on May 13] transported help to hospitals and made a film about volunteers. It is unfortunate that we are losing such good people. Sincere and open. Professionals, real filmmakers.”

Konstantin Vorobey, producer and deputy director of “Social Cinema Workshop”

“This is hell, unbearably painful. I don’t have the strength to write something beautiful, and I won’t; everyone already knows what you were like. Words and strength this week are gone, your departure is simply devastating. I don’t understand and I don’t accept. Lyuba, you can't know how f…ing stunned and in how much pain everyone is.”

Mariya Egorova, producer

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