Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Film at the Institute: Freedom on Fire

April 11, 2024 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Film at the Institute presents

A Screening of Freedom on Fire, an award-winning documentary film by Oscar and Emmy nominated Evgeniy Afineevsky.

There will be a post-screening with Director/Producer Afineevsky, followed by a light reception.

An award-winning documentary film about Russia’s war on Ukraine, with narration by Dame Helen Mirren.

In English
116 minutes





Crafted from stark footage and exclusive interviews with individuals displaced by the enduring conflict, Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom reveals how the spirit of unity strengthens morale even amid the country’s darkest hours.

When Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, its citizens instinctively renewed the survival strategies that sustained them eight years prior during the Maidan Uprising. This companion piece to director Evgeny Afineevsky’s Academy Award Nominated documentary Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom explores why a jubilant day on Kyiv’s Maidan square instigated warfare that has lasted more than a decade. Broadening his focus from a single city, Afineevsky and his veteran Winter on Fire crew turn their lenses on multiple countries, trailing both the Ukrainians trying to escape and those who have vowed to stay behind.

A sweeping look at a humanitarian crisis, the documentary amplifies the views of children, mothers, soldiers, doctors, artists, volunteers, clergymen, and journalists who are transformed while witnessing ceaseless destruction and bloodshed. Featuring narration by Oscar-winning Dame Helen Mirren, Freedom on Fire is a saga of resilience that challenges the international community to oppose tyranny together.



“Thousands of Ukrainians shivered through a three month protest in Kyiv’s Maidan Uprising until the government accepted their ultimatum — President Viktor Yanukovych fled, paving the way for free elections and the opportunity for the nation to finally join the European Union. Yet as I documented the public revelry of February 23, 2014, a war began before my eyes. Upon losing influence over the Yanukovych regime, Vladimir Putin knew his own authority could be undermined if Russians saw their neighbors reap the benefits of democracy. Putin’s aggressive agenda remains unchecked by much of the world, even since his troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Freedom on Fire presents ordinary people at their most vulnerable, attempting to evade bombs and bullets while — in some cases — choosing which family members to save. 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. 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.

One of my goals was to detail the struggles associated with reporting from the front lines of a warzone. My main character is a female journalist, largely because Marie Colvin (1956-2012) remains a constant presence in my mind. I didn’t know her personally, but I immersed myself in her work while making Cries from Syria. Colvin died doing her job and telling the truth about that country’s civil war. Freedom on Fire is dedicated to storytellers who risk danger to give voices to the voiceless. Everything can be rebuilt except lives.”

— Evgeny Afineevsky

Film at the Institute: Freedom on Fire


April 11, 2024
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category: