Documentary “Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Quest for Freedom” about the war in Ukraine

The U.S. Embassy in Lithuania together with Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) invites university community, Kaunas residents and guests to a free screening of documentary Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Quest for Freedom”, on February 28, 11:15 a.m. at V. Putvinskio st. 23, room 106. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with film director Evgeny Afineesvky. The film is in Ukrainian and Russian languages with subtitles in English.  The screening is hosted by the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy. The moderator of the screening is a doctoral student of the faculty, Ukrainian Dmytro Iavory, the discussant of the discussion with the audience and the director is prof. Gintautas Mažeikis.

Documentary “Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Quest for Freedom” tells the story of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and takes a sweeping look at a humanitarian crisis, amplifying the views of children, mothers, soldiers, doctors, artists, volunteers, clergymen, and journalists who are transformed while witnessing ceaseless destruction and bloodshed. With harrowing images being released ever since February 24 of 2022 and exclusive interviews with people affected by the ongoing war, “Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Quest for Freedom” reveals how the spirit of unity strengthens morale even amid the country’s darkest hours and challenges the international community to oppose tyranny together.

“By releasing the film now, I hope I can bring immediate clarity to viewers confused by the deliberate misinformation campaign surrounding the current events in Ukraine.” says Afineesvky. According to the director, one of his goals was to detail the struggles associated with reporting from the front lines of a warzone. The film whose one of the main characters is journalist Natalija Nagorna, “is dedicated to storytellers who risk danger to give voices to the voiceless.”

To convey a comprehensive narrative of the war, Afineevsky structured the film around personal testimonies by Ukrainians whose lives have changed dramatically since 2014 – “I wanted to show how war affects people in different parts of the country.” However, his biggest goal is to call the world to action. Afineesvky hopes that Ukraine and its allies will continue fighting together against threats to freedom of speech and expression, human rights, freedom, and democracy. Featuring narration from Oscar-winning Dame Helen Mirren, the film has received awards at the Hamptons International Film Festival, SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and Mill Valley Film Festival, and received the Kineo Award and a nomination at the Stockholm Film Festival.

Russian-born American director Evgeny Afineesvky has previously visited Lithuanian with his Oscar-nominated documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Quest for Freedom”. Afineesvky’s films have premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, Telluride International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Rome International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, and his work nominated for the Oscars, Emmys, and the PGA Awards.

The screening at VMU is an exclusive opportunity to see the 2022-made film which premiered at the Toronto International and Venice Film Festivals, and received the Kineo Award.


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