Netflix will release its original documentary Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom on Friday 9 October exclusively to its members worldwide. The film, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, is the latest in an expanding list of Netflix’s documentary programming including Virunga, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, and The Square, which scooped three Emmy Awards.
Chronicling events that unfolded over 93 days in 2013 and 2014, Winter on Fire witnesses the formation of a new civil rights movement in Ukraine. What started as peaceful student demonstrations supporting European integration morphed into a full-fledged violent revolution calling for the resignation of the nation’s president. The film captures the mobilisation of nearly a million citizens from across the country protesting the corrupt political regime that utilised extreme force against its own people to suppress their demands and freedom of expression.
The documentary is set to make its world premiere at the 72nd Venice Film Festival next month.
“Evgeny has assembled a cinematic tribute to the heroism, spirit and determination of the Ukrainian people,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix vice president of original documentary programming. “We are honoured to provide a global platform for him to share his powerful narrative.”
“While we were filming unfathomably brutal attacks by the police on unarmed citizens, we weren’t thinking about how to get the best shots, only the importance of showing the ways in which the movement would forever change the country and the lives of its participants,” said Afineevsky. “We’re pleased that Netflix is enabling us to share the hard truth and shocking reality of this historical event with the rest of the world.”
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom is Afineevsky’s third feature documentary. He has produced over ten feature and short films, including the 2002 adaptation of Crime and Punishment, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Crispin Glover, John Hurt and Margot Kidder. He also produced and directed numerous TV projects. His feature directorial debut, Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! has garnered several awards at film festivals globally.