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“Despite the ongoing brutality, the nation is not on its knees. The movie’s essence is singing, hugging, volunteers bearing gifts, and children drawing pictures for the soldiers who are keeping them safe. That's beauty: People who know how to laugh and love.” – filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky


Freedom on Fire is a behind the scenes and beyond the headlines view of the war in Ukraine from the Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky (Winter on Fire). This is filmmaking from the heart, beautifully capturing the resilience of the Ukrainian people in their fight against the Russian invasion. A logistical tour de force – with 43 cinematographers (including the filmmaker) filming in over 20 Ukrainian cities – Freedom on Fire captures the stories of children, mothers, soldiers, doctors, artists, volunteers, clergymen, and journalists – as we witness the transformation of a country fighting for its very survival.


Evgeny Afineevsky

Director, Producer & Cinematographer

Documentarian Evgeny Afineevsky was born in the Russian city of Kazan when it was part of the former U.S.S.R. Since childhood, he has dreamed of a world with less violence and more acceptance.
While making WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM (2015), he realized that he could imbue his art with activism. That film helped galvanize people in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Hong Kong and Lebanon to demonstrate against oppressive dictatorships. His next work, Cries from Syria (2017), opened hearts and minds — audience members in various countries inundated Afineevsky with questions about how they could aid innocents who have long been trapped in the Syrian Civil War. After earning Pope Francis’ trust for Francesco (2020), he joined the pontiff on a globe-trotting tour to alleviate division through love and kindness. A continuation of WINTER ON FIRE called FREEDOM ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM will premiere as an Official Selection at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. Tracing his four-title arc from WINTER ON FIRE to FREEDOM ON FIRE, shared themes emerge such as humanity’s capacity for good and evil, mortality and heroism.
Afineevsky has also debuted documentaries at the Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, Rome International Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival. His oeuvre has received nominations for an Oscar, a PGA Award, a Primetime Emmy Award and four News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Additional accolades include a People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary from the Toronto International Film Festival, a Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for Best Director, an Overseas Press Club Award, a Television Academy Honors award, an IDA Documentary Award, two Kineo Awards, a Humanitas Prize, Catholics in Media Associates Social Justice Award, and a Cinema for Peace award.

Will Znidaric

Producer & Editor

Will Znidaric is a 2-time ACE Eddie award winning editor, for the feature documentary, “Jane” for National Geographic, and the documentary series, “Five Came Back” for Netflix. He recently served as Supervising Editor on the 4 part documentary series for Apple TV on Magic Johnson titled, “They Call Me Magic”, which premiered on April 22, 2022 Znidaric first came to prominence in 2015 with “Winter On Fire; Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, which went on to receive numerous accolades, including an Oscar nomination for Best Feature Documentary. In addition, Znidaric’s other acclaimed projects include “The Black Godfather”, “Biggie: I’ve Got A Story To Tell”, “Quincy”, “Strokes of Genius” and the recent global hit “Neymar: The Perfect Chaos”. His films and series have been singled out for recognition from the Television Academy, The Grammys, The Critics Choice Awards, BAFTA, The National Board of Review, and The NAACP Image Awards, amongst others.

Ted Hope


Over a 35-year career, Ted’s been a producer on over 70 films, studio executive on over 60, CEO of a start-up streamer, co-head of 3 production companies, executive director of a film society & festival, a Professor Of Practice at 2 universities, and founder of a post-production facility, 2 websites, 2 think tanks, & an app. His films have received 25 Oscar nominations, with 6 wins. He is one of two producers to have three of their films win the Sundance Grand Jury Award. Ted’s memoir Hope For Film has been published in two editions and is a must read for all filmmakers or those wanting to be. Hope’s career in the film business is defined by an innovative and inclusive approach, always operating from a deep love of cinema, its history, and recognition of its potential. He produced 5 features in 2021, including George Clooney’s The Tender Bar, starring Ben Affleck. Ted’s eye for directorial talent has helped launch the feature film careers of Ang Lee, Hal Hartley, Michel Gondry, Nicole Holofcener, and many others. Did we mention Ted launched Amazon’s foray into feature film production, co-running it for much of his tenure, leading them to 19 Oscar nominations and 5 wins? Yes, that’s Ted.