Viva Belarus!, a film co-written and produced by Franak Viačorka, new media manager for RFE/RL’s Belarus Service
, has won the award for “Best Screenplay” at the 11th annual Brussels Film Festival
This groundbreaking feature film from Polish director Krzysztof Lukaszewicz portrays the harsh life of nonconformist Belarusian youth living under the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and is partially based on Viačorka’s own experiences
during his time as an army conscript and blogger using social media to push for democracy in Belarus.
follows 23-year-old Miron, an apolitical rock musician who inadvertently triggers an anti-regime demonstration at one of his concerts. The incident leads to his forced military conscription and is the catalyst for a journey of rebellion against a repressive system.
The film was among the 12 entrants awarded in the official competition June 26, which recognized some of the most notable directors from across Europe.
Viačorka said members of the jury were especially pleased with the film’s colorful characters, images, and realistic portrayal of life under an autocratic regime.
“We didn’t do anything special, we just showed this reality,” said Viačorka. “It proves that in Belarus, as well as in Ukraine, Russia, Turkmenistan, and other countries, that there are so many stories to tell-- stories that can be written and shot to get great movies.”
Viačorka was the subject of a 2006 documentary titled “A Lesson of Belarusian
,” which chronicled his activities as a pro-democracy youth activist in the run up to the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus. He was also featured in “Playing at War”
(in Belarusian), a 2011 satirical documentary about the Belarusian military.