The Washington Film Institute and
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
cordially invite you to
A Screening and Discussion
with Oscar-Nominated Director Evgeny Afineevsky and Ambasador William B. Taylor
FREEDOM ON FIRE:
Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
1619 Massachusetts Ave, NW
The film depicts the horrible realities of this unprovoked war instigated by Vladimir Putin. It is an exploration of the courage of the Ukrainian people, fiercely determined to stand their ground until ‘the last drop of blood’. Demonstrating an astounding ability to unite as a people and defend the sovereignty of their country, Ukrainians show compassion and resilience even when surrounded by death, destruction, and unfathomable war crimes. The film transports viewers through a war that started immediately after Maidan (Revolution of Dignity) in 2014 and continues through the 2022 Russian invasion. Through personal stories of civilians, children, soldiers, doctors, the country’s elderly, journalists, religious leaders, and international volunteers, this is a humanising diary of millions of people whose lives were turned upside down by eight years of conflict.
The filmmaking team was determined to document the horrendous events in Ukraine to demonstrate to the world true heroism, the triumph of the human spirit and that democratic values will prevail. During the spring of 2022, the world was watching the situation in Ukraine, firstly with deep concern and misunderstanding, then with fear and support. Yet, up until these days there is no complete understanding of what exactly happened in the centre of Europe with peaceful people in a peaceful country. How did this tragic war happen? Did it happen now or 8 years ago and has it been simply unnoticed by the World? Where did the Ukrainian people get this strength and fury to fight and what happens next? We tried to cover all these questions and tell the most comprehensive story that can help to understand the very essence of this war.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
EVGENY AFINEEVSKY is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated director. He is currently released his new headline-breaking documentary FREEDOM ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, which premiered at 79th Venice Film Festival, as well at Toronto International Film Festival.
In 2020 Catholics in Media Associates awarded him with 2020 CIMA Social Justice Award for his passion for telling stories that matter, his love for humanity and work for justice. Same 2020 despite the pandemic, he premiered in person his headline making movie FRANCESCO at the Rome International Film Festival, where he been awarded with prestigious Kineo Award. FRANCESCO was his personal journey alongside Pope Francis.
His award-winning documentary, CRIES FROM SYRIA, was an Official Selection at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He won Best Director and earned nomination for Best Documentary from the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. He and his film earned IPA Satellite Awards nominations for Best Documentary and Best Song in a Documentary for PRAYERS FOR THIS WORLD, performed by Cher. The Awards Circuit Community Awards nominated his movie as Best Documentary Feature for 2017. He won International Documentary Association’s Courage Under Fire Award, earned a PGA Award nomination, won a Humanitas Prize and Cinema for Peace Award, as well as the Overseas Press Club’s Peter Jennings Award. He and his movie CRIES FROM SYRIA earned 4 Emmy nominations.
Evgeny built his filmmaking career on providing a first-hand account of conflict, even if it means putting his own life in danger. He earned an Oscar and Emmy nomination in 2016 for WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, which details the 2013 student uprising that transformed into a violent revolution. WINTER ON FIRE was an Official Selection of the Venice and Telluride International film festivals. He won the People’s Choice Award for the Best Documentary from the Toronto International Film Festival and received Television Academy Honors Award.
ABOUT THE AMBASSADOR
AMBASSADOR WILLIAM B. TAYLOR is vice president, Europe and Russia at the U.S. Institute of Peace. In 2019, he served as chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv and as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. During the Arab Spring, he oversaw U.S. assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. He served in Jerusalem as the U.S. government’s representative to the Mideast Quartet. He served in Kabul in 2002 and in Baghdad in 2004.
In the 1990s, Ambassador Taylor coordinated U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.
Ambassador Taylor is a graduate of West Point and Harvard’s Kennedy School and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.