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Unknown Belarus Director Lyubov Zemtsova Dies From Injuries

Unknown Belarus co-directors Lyubov Zemtsova and Vladimir Mikhailovski
Unknown Belarus co-directors Lyubov Zemtsova and Vladimir Mikhailovski

After sustaining critical injuries in a car crash that took the lives of two co-workers, 28-year-old Belarusian documentary filmmaker Lyubov Zemtsova died in a Minsk hospital on the morning of May 22, her family told Current Time.

The May 14 car accident occurred as Zemtsova, producer/director Vladimir Mikhailovski, and sound engineer Maksim Gavrilenko were returning to Minsk from the city of Gomel (also called Homyel). The team had been filming an episode for Current Time’s Unknown Belarus series about how Belarusian volunteers are helping medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19.

Mikhailovski and Gavrilenko were killed when a Rover traveling in the opposite direction struck their Citroen. The Rover’s driver was also killed and one passenger was hospitalized, Belarus’ Investigative Committee, which is overseeing the case, reported.

Over the past eight days, doctors had attempted to assist Zemtsova’s chances for recovery by placing her into a medically induced coma. She died without regaining consciousness.

Remembering Unknown Belarus: A Project To Share 'What We Dream About'
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A Current Time tribute to Lyubov Zemtsova, Vladimir Mikhailovski, and Maksim Gavrilenko's work on Unknown Belarus

A graduate of the Warsaw film school Wajda School Doc Pro, Zemtsova was gaining prominence as a documentary filmmaker. Her films were shown in international film festivals such as Latvia’s Artdocfest and Romania’s Astra Film Festival, among others. Unknown Belarus, which premiered this February, was her first television series.

Zemtsova's 2018 film Place Of Love, supported by Current Time, shows how disabled Belarusians, a generally marginalized group, discover the meaning of love in a center for the disabled.

“Lyuba has very trusting, very close relationships with her main characters,” commented Russian documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky, the director of Artdocfest. “She has the very delicate position of an observer, neither demeaning nor exalting her main characters. It lets us, the audience, understand and feel the genuine sound of a time and of situations.”

Current Time expresses its deepest condolences to Zemtsova’s family and friends.