Filmmakers for Ukraine have been named the 2022 recipients of arts organization Humanitas’ Kieser Award for the group’s work connecting members of Ukraine’s film and TV community impacted by the Russia-Ukrainian War with resources, jobs and funding for basic needs.
The independent group of European filmmakers, who came together following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and work under the ownership and operation of NGO Filmmakers for Refugees, will be presented with their honor at the 46th annual Humanitas Prizes on Sept. 9 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“We are inspired and humbled by Filmmakers for Ukraine support of writers and filmmakers as they continue their work chronicling the human condition through these dire and dangerous circumstances,” said Michelle Franke, Humanitas’ executive director. “It’s vital to celebrate courageous, creative responses to upheaval and violence during this historical moment.”
The Kieser Award is granted to writers whose work entertains, uplifts, is well-crafted and “features characters who speak to our deepest selves,” according to Humanitas, as well as to film and TV organizations that use their resources to “bring about positive and measurable social change.”
As part of its work, Filmmakers for Ukraine created an online hub to facilitate assistance for refugees, Ukraine’s film community and others who identify with socially marginalized groups. In a statement, the founder of Filmmakers For Ukraine Oliver Zenglein said the project “is deeply honored to have been recognized by Humanitas and selected for the Kieser Award.”
“Since the full-scale invasion began, driven by community solidarity, we have worked relentlessly on behalf of our fellow filmmakers from Ukraine. These incredibly talented and hard-working people have been changing the world through their films,” he continued. “Now they are fighting on the front lines, transporting the wounded to hospitals, organizing humanitarian aid and capturing warfare at the risk of their lives. They are desperately fighting for their country’s freedom and for the world’s attention.
Past recipients of the award, which was named in honor of Fr. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser and comes with a $10,000 cash prize, have included Arthur Hiller, Marta Kauffman and John Ridley.
The collective of filmmakers received their prize in June, which they distributed as ten $1,000 micro grants aimed at supporting individuals’ basic needs and/or the continuation of creative projects. Recipients included members of Ukraine’s film and TV community who since the war began have become refugees, enlisted as soldiers, are acting as documentarians of war crimes or have otherwise seen their life circumstances radically altered.
Filmmakers for Ukraine volunteers have promised themselves that they won’t rest “until our Ukrainian friends are able to return to what they do best: making great movies.”
“The Kieser Award is a great honor but also a great responsibility,” Zenglein said. “We accept both with humility and gratitude. And we are very happy to tell our Ukrainian friends: The world has not forgotten you. We are with you.”