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Liev Schreiber speaks about efforts to provide aid to Ukrainians

When Liev Schreiber first saw how ordinary Ukrainians on the ground deal with the massive and urgent crises caused by the Russian war, one thing was immediately clear to him: “They did all the work.”

Speaking about his nonprofit BlueCheck Ukraine at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Saturday, the actor/writer/producer explained that the realization is central to his reorganized relief efforts.

Schreiber was also motivated to start BlueCheck Ukraine after many Americans expressed doubts about whether funds donated to war aid would reach those most in need. Westerners are skeptical about transparency in Eastern Europe, he learned, likely because of the region’s history of corruption and waste.

So he met with experts from local organizations and they decided that donors need an organization that can certify that the dollars given are being used effectively – something many large nonprofits can’t do because they simply use local subcontractors with the Order distribution of help.

In a rapidly changing environment, knowing the facts is crucial, Schreiber added. “Chaos and misinformation – that’s what Putin is banking on.”

Another immediate realization he’s had since dedicating himself and a few friends to organizing aid, Schreiber said, is that responding to the needs of war-affected people is “a moving target.”

First traveling to Poland to help chef José Andrés’ organization World Central Kitchen feed some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees, he explained, his team was at a loss just after Easter that year, when the number of migrants skyrocketed from 10,000 per day dropped to about 900 .

It was clear that many Ukrainians were on their way home, even though rockets were – and are – falling in cities far from the front lines. Another important lesson, therefore, is that one day urgently needed refugees arrive from Ukraine and the next day orphans have to be transported around the country. Or medical help. Or shelters for internally displaced persons.

Without telling his family, at least until afterward, Schreiber said, he then ventured to Lviv in western Ukraine to get a better sense of what was needed. He soon learned of a small group of taxi drivers and volunteers who alone had brought about 10,000 children and women from dangerous areas under Russian fire. “Ukrainians are incredibly resourceful,” he said.

Asked whether film festivals should show Russian state-funded works, as Karlovy Vary, Cannes and other festivals have done this year, Schreiber said he was “uncomfortable” with the idea of ​​banning artists, but added that It is a complex problem without a clear right or wrong answer.

The Ray Donovan star confessed that after discovering that his ancestors have roots in Ukraine, he always felt a bit like identifying with the country. But after Russia invaded on February 24, Schreiber said he quickly realized that Americans “sitting on their butts” at home have very little real common identity with what Ukrainians’ daily life is now.

Still, common roots motivate people, he said. “I see America as a nation of grandchildren.”

Schreiber admits it was a mess setting up BlueCheck Ukraine and admits that even their website is still under construction. But he was inspired by a conversation he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. One thing stuck in the memory of the determined Commander-in-Chief Schreiber: “You are much braver than you think.”

The other takeaway he shared that explains why there is a urgency to act now was this: “It’s better to deal with it now, before there’s a knock on your door.”

Schreiber, back in Karlovy Vary after 18 years, was last here to present his directorial debut Everything Is Illuminated, starring Elijah Wood. The Golden Globe-nominated actor is set to speak about his film and television work at a masterclass on Sunday, likely touching on his roles in movies like The Sum of All Fears and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

https://variety.com/2022/film/global/liev-schreiber-karlovy-vary-film-festival-1235308323/ Liev Schreiber speaks about efforts to provide aid to Ukrainians

Charles Jones

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