The Directors’ Guild of America is standing with “The Green Border” filmmaker Agnieszka Holland amid backlash over her portrayal of Poland’s treatment of Syrian refugees.
IndieWire received a statement from the DGA regarding “highly acclaimed filmmaker and DGA member” Holland, who was criticized by Poland’s justice minister and received hundreds of death threats from extremists following the release of “The Green Border,” which portrayed the negative treatment of immigrants in Poland.
“The Directors Guild of America champions creative expression through the art of filmmaking and condemns the recent attacks by the Polish Minister of Justice and extremists on our member director Agnieszka Holland for her portrayal of the brutality faced by refugees in Poland in her film The Green Border “are exposed,” the statement said. “We firmly believe that directors like Agnieszka play an important role in stimulating discussions and reflecting on social problems through their work. We join the statements of the Federation of European Screen Directors (FERA) and the European Film Academy in support of Agnieska and her award-winning film at the Venice Film Festival and will continue to advocate for the freedom of expression of all directors.”
The European Film Academy has also issued statements supporting Holland.
Holland has since threatened legal action against Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on September 7 after he compared the film to Nazi propaganda. Per diversityHolland is demanding a public apology and payment to the Association of Children of the Holocaust in Poland, saying Ziobro “violated their personal rights.”
“People who are afraid, as the attorney general knows very well, are much easier to govern,” Holland said.
“The Green Border” premiered at the 2023 Venice Film Festival and was later sold to international distributor Films Boutique in Japan (Transformer Inc.), Germany (Piffl Medien), Israel (Lev Cinema), Switzerland (Trigon) and MENA (Moving Turtle ) sold. , Greece (Danaos Films) and Ukraine (Arthouse Traffic).
IndieWire freelance critic Adam Solomons wrote in the review that “The Green Border” has a “moral urgency that goes beyond depicting the plight of refugees described as ‘tourists’ by members of Poland’s Straż Graniczna.” If If only it were that simple.”
The review continued: “Holland’s film is a desperate, transparent call for her country to remain in control. That seems optimistic, but it certainly upsets the right people: Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, whose notoriety as a hardliner in a hardliner government earns him a name drop in Holland’s film, has already compared “Green Border” to “Third Reich propaganda.” “Despite the noise around it, which will likely find “Green Border” helpful to those who want to hear it, it pays the price for not holding together particularly well as a film.”
Holland previously directed the Oscar-nominated Holocaust film “In Darkness” and told IndieWire in 2012 that portraying difficult topics on screen was necessary.
“When you bring up issues like this, which are in some ways timeless, it’s not OK to just say, ‘We saw this Holocaust story and now here’s a different story,'” Holland said. “It is a story that will never go away because it is such an important part of human history. With humanity’s guilt, it will always come back, I’m sure.”