New Netflix doc chronicles Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Winter on Fire depicts the 93-day struggle that started out with student protests and became a revolution.
August 7, 2015

Netflix is looking to build on a growing library of original content with the release of an edgy new documentary that explores the internal conflict in the Ukraine.

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom is set to premiere on the SVOD service on Oct. 9.

The doc, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, chronicles the events that unfolded over 93 days in 2013 and 2014 in Ukraine, starting with student demonstrations and devolving to a violent revolution, the annexation of Crimea and calls for the resignation of then-president Viktor Yanukovych. Footage was captured directly from conflict zones.

The film, which includes footage and subtitles in English, Ukrainian and Russian, features interviews with protesters, activists, journalists, medical workers, artists and clergy.

“We weren’t thinking about how to get the best shots, only the importance of showing the ways in which the movement would forever change the country and the lives of its participants,” said Afineevsky, in a statement.

Prior to its digital release, the documentary will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September.

Netflix has scored a string of huge wins with its original programming, notably Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. It’s now looking to translate that success by adding titles that fit with its expanding global audience. Among the recent additions is the original French drama, Marseille, starring Gérard Depardieu. The eight-episode series is expected to premiere worldwide in 2016.

Its growing selection of documentaries have also served to strengthen the SVOD’s content offerings. Two Netflix’s docs recently picked up five Emmy nominations: Mission Blue (which earned three nods) and E-Team. The winners will be announced Sept. 20.

Netflix has about 21 million subscribers worldwide, but that number is expected to increase as the service moves into more countries, including its newest market, Japan. 



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