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Oscar-nominated “Winter on Fire” shows Ukraine’s struggle for freedom

In the interview with the WT director Evgeny Afineevsky told of making the film about historical events of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2013-14
Oscar-nominated “Winter on Fire” shows Ukraine's struggle for freedom

In his Oscar-nominated film “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”, director Evgeny Afineevsky documented the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2013-14 and the invasion of Russian troops to Crimea. It is a film about historical events in Ukraine, when people walked to the streets in support of European integration, veering away from Soviet-style oppression, fighting for their freedom and the future, Joinfo.ua reports with reference to the Washington Times.

In the interview Evgeny Afineevsky said that for him “the movie was a little bit something about [interconnected] lives.” His aim, he said, was not only to “capture the history of the uprising, but also [the film] can change people’s lives. That’s one of the elements that’s made me want to make movies.”

His film shows how students throughout Ukraine hit the streets and engaged in mass protests in Kyiv, calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovich. As the peaceful protesters become ever more numerous, the president’s forces become ever more onerous in their response, resulting in clashes, when many people were killed.

The filmmaker spent months embedded with the protesters in Kyiv and elsewhere throughout the embattled country as “history was happening.”

“There were people who stood in cold weather, who stood there despite bullets flying over our shoulders,” Afineevsky said of the protesters.

He said the film gives the Ukrainian people a chance to tell their story and have it not filtered through Moscow-controlled media outlets that might distort the tale of what happened during that crucial time.

“Russia is famous for propaganda,” Afineevsky said.

Evgeny hopes that audiences for his film, which is now nominated for the Oscar for best documentary, will come to see the conflict through Ukrainian eyes.

“They’re heroes to me. It’s history,” he said.

Like all change, this one too will take time.

“For me, the events of those 93 days [engendered] unity that I observed there, united all social castes together,” he said. “Right now, it’s the second chapter.

“Every wound has different periods of healing,” the director said. “They’re fighting and they’re united in fighting. I wish them success.”

It should be recalled that the film of Evgeny Afineevsky has also won the Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.