Freedom on Fire

Director Evgeny Afineevsky discusses Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

October 20, 2022 A Documentary Series Screening in NY

In early 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed his forces in an unprovoked invasion of the neighboring sovereign nation of Ukraine. The story of how a nation fought back against great odds is continued in Director Evgeny Afineevsky’s new documentary, Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.

In a follow-up to his 2015 Academy Award-nominated documentary Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Afineevsky resumes his harrowing look at the country's battle for freedom as told through the personal stories of civilians, children, soldiers, doctors, the country’s elderly, journalists, religious leaders, and international volunteers. Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival.

On October 20, following the Eastern Region Special Projects Committee’s Documentary Series screening at the Guild's New York Theater, Afineevsky sat down with Eastern Region Special Projects Committee Chair Raymond De Felitta to talk about the making of the film.

During the conversation, Afineevsky spoke about when he knew he had to continue the story from his first film.

“For me, like for many Ukrainians, the war started in February 2014 immediately after Putin lost control over Ukraine. After the second day [of the invasion] I made the decision to start to document this and to go back to the archives because when we finished Winter on Fire in 2014, we did film for another 14 or 15 days. I filmed Crimea. I filmed Donetsk Airport … many events that happened. I was thinking, ‘I will never go back to these archives.’ I was thinking, ‘We have this footage but I guess we will never use it.’ Then I realized that eight years of this war has been neglected by the world. Eight years of this crime Putin was committing —  and nobody punishing him — allowed him to do bigger crimes. This needed to be told to the world because otherwise tomorrow can be something even bigger unleashed.”

In addition to Freedom on Fire and Winter on Fire, Afineevsky’s credits include the feature Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!!; the documentaries Francesco, Pray for Ukraine, Divorce: A Journey Through the Kids' Eyes and Romka; and episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful and the mini-series, On Air with Dr. Harel. He has been a DGA member since 2008.

You can listen to Afineevsky's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Marcie Revens - Print Courtesy of Winter on Fire Productions

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