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February 22, 2023

Ambassador-hosted Berlinale Reception Highlights Solidarity with Ukraine

Botschafter Oleksij Makejew mit Botschafterin Amy Gutmann
Botschafter Oleksij Makejew mit
Botschafterin Amy Gutmann

Ambassador Gutmann hosted 400 guests from the film industry and a diverse, intergenerational audience from Berlin’s cultural world on February 21 for a reception at Embassy Berlin marking the Berlinale Film Festival. Prominent guests included Steven Spielberg, Motion Picture Association (MPA) CEO and former U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin, German Federal State Minister for Culture Claudia Roth, and Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Oleksei Makeiev, who was the guest of honor. The Embassy partnered for the reception with Studio Babelsberg, the MPA and Morrison & Foerster, whose leaders held brief greeting remarks.

Ambassador Gutmann’s remarks highlighted the strong U.S., German, and Allied support for Ukraine in its struggle for freedom against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked aggression and amplified President Biden’s statements in Kyiv and Warsaw, as well as the Vice President’s speech at the Munich Security Conference. The Ambassador affirmed, “against our Ukrainian brethren, Russia is carrying out nothing short of crimes against humanity.” The Ambassador also mentioned the Berlinale’s post-World War II beginnings as part of the Marshall Plan, created as means for free speech and expression.

Ukrainian Ambassador Makeiev thanked the United States and Germany for their steadfast support for his country. Quoting President Biden’s statement that democracy does not happen by accident, he added, “we have to fight for it, and we will!” This year’s annual Berlinale was dedicated to Ukraine, with several Ukrainian filmmakers screening their work and President Zelenskyy addressing the opening night crowd virtually on February 16 during the world premiere of Sean Penn’s documentary Superpower.

The reception was widely covered in traditional and social media: