"No one was expecting to have kids beaten at 4 o'clock in the morning, no one was expecting people to be kidnapped or killed. It was just unfolding," explains Evgeny Afineevsky, director of the film Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom which documents the 93 day uprising that led to the downfall of president Viktor Yanukovych. The film recently won the People's Choice documentary award at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be debuting on Netflix on Oct. 9th. "We were just trying to capture every moment and document everything. All of a sudden I was in the middle of this uprising and I was capturing the history."
Afineevsky's film, which he calls "a cinematic monument" to the heroes of the Ukrainian revolution, is an sympathetic portrait of the conditions and actions of the protesters fighting for closer ties to the European Union. While some reviews have criticized the single viewpoint, Afineevsky defended his vision during a recent interview with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie.
"The other side of the story is politicians and police. Police were not allowed to talk to the camera....And the politicians, every time you point a camera to the politician his story is promoting himself, and promoting his party, and his agenda. It is not the human story that I was trying to capture. For me this movie was the human story... not the politicians' agendas."