As the latest in Netflix’s growing list of original documentaries, the streaming service will premiere Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom this October, chronicling the events that unfolded over a three-month period in 2013 and 2014 that prompted a new civil rights youth movement.
The documentary, which will debut October 9 to Netflix subscribers around the world, looks at the nation’s struggle for freedom amidst a corrupt political regime that “utilized extreme force against its own people to suppress their demands and freedom of expression.” Over a total of 93 days, peaceful student demonstrations supporting European integration did a complete 180 and turned violent as special forces deployed to disperse the crowds began beating and seriously injuring hundreds of protestors. The event attracted almost a million citizens, who were eventually calling for the resignation of the nation’s president. The film includes footage from the inside of the conflict.
Evgeny Afineevsky, who directed the film, says that when his team was filming the “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.”
“Evgeny has assembled a cinematic tribute to the heroism, spirit and determination of the Ukrainian people,” says Lisa Nishimura, Vice President of Original Documentary Programming at Netflix. “We are honored to provide a global platform for him to share his powerful narrative.”
For his part, Afineevsky, adds: “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.”
In addition to live fottage, the film also includes interviews with protesters, activists, journalists, medical workers, artists and clergy representing multiple generations, social classes, nationalities and faiths.
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom will first make its world premiere at the 72nd Venice Film Festival in September, a month prior to the Netflix availability. It marks Afineevsky’s third feature documentary.