Evgeny Afineevsky - Documenting a Revolution in "Winter on Fire"

October 7, 2015 - Evgeny Afineevsky 10/07/2015 Views: 7,940

Filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky describes his journey to Ukraine in the midst of a violent protest against President Yanukovych for his documentary "Winter on Fire." (5:35)

>> Trevor: PLEASE WELCOMEEVGENY AFINEEVSKY.

( APPLAUSE )

ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS GET YOURNAME RIGHT.

THAT'S ALL I WAS GOING FOR.

>> AND YOU DID IT.

>> Trevor: I PRACTICED.

I PRACTICED.

EVGENY AFINEEVSKY.

I LIKE THAT.

IT'S RUSSIAN?

>> YUP.

>> Trevor: OKAY.

SO THIS IS A CONFUSING STORY FORME FROM THE BEGINNING.

I MEAN, THE DOCUMENTARY IS EASYTO UNDERSTAND, BUT I WANT TO

KNOW A BIT ABOUT YOU AND HOW YOUGOT INTO THIS.

SO RUSSIAN BORN?

>> ISREALI RAISE, AMERICAN AS OFNOW.

>> Trevor: LIVING IN L.A.

>> YUP.

>> Trevor: HOW DID YOU COME TOMAKE THIS FILM?

THIS IS A CRAZY STORY ABOUT A93-DAY PERIOD FIGHTING, THE

PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE WHO WASOPPRESSING EVERYBODY.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THATALL THE WAY FROM L.A.?

>> ONE OF MY FRIENDS WASINVOLVED BEFORE IN THE MOVIES

WITH ME.

WE DID PREVIOUS MOVIES.

HE LITERALLY CALLED ME FROMUKRAINE AND SAID, "HISTORY IS

HAPPENING.

COME DOWN.

WE NEED TO DOCUMENT THIS."

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

CRAZY AS MYSELF, I TOOK THECAMERA AND WENT TO UKRAINE.

>> Trevor: AND THAT'S-- MYFRIENDS CALL ME FOR GOOD TIMES.

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT FRIENDS THATARE LIKE, "HEY, COME OVER.

LET'S ALMOST GET SHOT IN THEREVOLUTION THAT'S TAKING PLACE."

>> NOBODY WAS EXPECTING TO BESHOT THERE.

WHEN I WENT THERE IT WAS APEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION, A

PEACEFUL PROTEST OF YOUTH.

IT WAS AMAZING FESTIVAL PEOPLEWHO WANTED TO BE HEARD, WHO

WANTED TO BE HEARD BY THEGOVERNMENT.

AND NOBODY WAS EXPECTING TO BEKILLED.

NOBODY WAS EXPECT TO BE BEATENAT 4:00 IN THE MORNING.

SO THAT STARTED TO UNFOLDSPONTANEOUSLY.

>> Trevor: THIS IS SUCH ANINSANE STORY.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UKRAINESAYS TO EVERYBODY I'M GOING TO

JOIN WITH THE E.U..

EVERYONE IS HAPPY ABOUT THIS.

AND BEHIND THE NATION'S BACKMAKES A DEAL WITH PUTIN.

WHO IS A GREAT GUY.

( LAUGHTER )

AND PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY ABOUTTHIS, AND THEY START OFF THE

PROTEST.

AND YOU WERE THERE FOR THISWHOLE PROCESS.

WHAT WAS THE FEELING LIKE WHENYOU WERE STANDING IN THIS CROWD?

BECAUSE YOU WERE THERE FOR THIS.

>> YEAH, AND IT WAS INTERESTING.

IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARYEXPERIENCE BECAUSE YOU JUST

SHOWED A CLIP ABOUT 12-YEAR-OLDKID THAT LITERALLY CAN WATCH HOW

HE WAS MATURING THROUGH THESE 93DAYS.

AND EVERY CHARACTER WHO WASTHERE WAS FASCINATING.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE KID WHO WAS 12YEARS OLD, HE RAN FROM HIS HOME

AND HAD BEEN THERE FROM THEBEGINNING, UNTIL THE PROTESTERS

ACHIEVED THEIR GOALS.

>> Trevor: ONE OF THE THINGSTHAT REALLY FASCINATED ME WAS

THE FACT THAT ALL THROUGH THEPROTESTS, THE PROTESTERS ALWAYS

SAID TO THE POLICE, "YOU ARE THEPEOPLE.

HELP US IN THIS FIGHT."

IT WAS SUCH A STRANGE THINGHEARING THEM PLEADING TO THE

POLICE, ASK THEM.

THEY DIDN'T SEE THEM AS ASEPARATE ENTITY.

THEY SAID, "WE ARE UKRAINIAN.

YOU ARE UKRAINIAN.

WHY ARE YOU BEATING US?"

I FEEL LIKE THAT SHOULD APPLYEVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD,

STRANGELY ENOUGH.

>> I THINK WHAT SHOULD APPLYFROM THIS MOVIE IS THE UNITY

BECAUSE THE UNITY WASFASCINATING.

PEOPLE FROM ALL GENERATIONS, ALLAGES, ALL SOCIAL GROUPS, FROM

RICH TO POOR, STUDENTS, PEOPLEWHO ACCOMPLISHED A LOT OF THINGS

IN LIFE, DIFFERENT PLACES, ALLWERE TOGETHER.

UNITY.

I HAVEN'T SEEN IT A LOT, ANDTHIS UNITY HELPED THEM TO WIN.

AND ANOTHER THING I THINK PEOPLESHOULD TAKE, THEY'RE THE PEOPLE,

AND THEY'RE THE REAL POWER.

>> Trevor: THEY ARE THEPEOPLE, AND THE YOUTH OF THE

PEOPLE.

THIS ISN'T A DISNEY FILM BUTTHERE WERE A FEW MOMENTS WHEN I

LOST IT.

I WON'T LIE.

ONE OF THEM WAS WHEN THE YOUTHSAID WE HAVE A PURPOSE.

WE'RE NOT JUST SITTING AROUND,PLAYING VIDEO GAMES, DOING

NOTHING.

A REVOLUTION HAS GIVEN USPURPOSE.

AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, IS THATWHAT WE NEED FOR YOUTH TO GET

INVOLVED IN POLITICS ISREVOLUTIONS.

IS THAT WHAT EVERYONE'S WAITINGFOR?

>> I DON'T THINK REVOLUTIONS.

BUT YOU SAID IT GAVE YOU KIND OFLOOKING AT THIS AND IT WAS ALSO

HUMAN.

AND THIS HUMAN SIDE OF THEM.

WE HAD A CONCERT EVERY NIGHT.

YOU PROBABLY SAW PLAYING PIANOBETWEEN THE PROTESTERS AND

POLICE.

IT WAS AMAZING TO SEE WITH HUMANSPIRIT AND EVEN WHEN THE

GOVERNMENT BASICALLY MADE THENEW LAWS PROHIBITING THEM TO

WEAR THE GEAR, PROHIBITING THEMTO --

>> Trevor: THEY MADE IT ILLEGALTO PROTEST.

>> CORRECT.

WHAT THEY DID?

THEY WEAR MASKS.

THEY BASICALLY PUT COOKING PARTSON THEIR HEADS.

>> Trevor: A GREAT FASHIONCHOICE.

SOME PEOPLE WERE LIKE, I'M GOINGTO WEAR COOKING POTS AND GO UP

AGAINST THIS --

WHAT AN INSANE SITUATION.

YOU WERE IN IT, THOUGH.

THAT'S WHAT FASCINATES ME.

YOU WERE THERE AND YOU WEREFILMING THE POLICE.

IF YOU TRY TO FILM THE POLICE INMOST COUNTRIES, THEY COME TO THE

PERSON WHO IS FILMING, AND YETTHEY JUST LET YOU.

DID NOBODY STOP AND SAY, "WHATWERE YOU FILMING?"

>> IT WAS NOT ONLY ME.

28 FILMMAKERS AROUND ME, LOCALFILMMAKERS, WHO EACH WANTED TO

CONTRIBUTE THEIR STORIES WHENTHEY SAW I WAS DOING THIS MOVIE.

THEY ALL CAME TO ME AND SAID,"HERE IS MY STORY.

I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH THEENTIRE WORLD."

IT'S AMAZING, PROFESSIONALS ANDNONPROFESSIONALS WERE THERE.

AT THE SAME TIME, I WAS HAVING ABADGE OF THE LOCAL PRESS SO IT

KIND OF WAS PROTECTING.

AGAIN, NOBODY WAS PROTECTED FROMTHE BULLETS.

NOBODY WAS PROTECTED FROM THEFREEZING WEATHER.

NOBODY WAS PROTECTED-- SORRY FORMYING LANGUAGE.

>> Trevor: DON'T APOLOGIZE.

MY ENGLISH IS WORSE.

BADGES WERE NOT PROTECT YOU FROMBULLETS.

>> NO.

>> Trevor: NO BADGES, NOBADGES.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING.

A BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL FILM.