American filmmaker Damian Kolodiy travels to Kyiv, Ukraine to document the brutal 2014 insurrection from the streets, as the people of Ukraine spontaneously rise up against their corrupt and oppressive government, going to war in the pursuit of a better future
Interview with Director/Producer Damian Kolodiy
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I made this documentary because I felt it was important for the world to understand what was happening in Ukraine. There was so much misinformation coming out of Russia and the American press was covering the events fairly lightly, and so I realized the story was being distorted and the truth needed to be told.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
This film will shock and inspire you. Seeing regular people willing to risk their lives for the idea of freedom and in the face of incredible physical danger in a true street revolution is absolutely gripping to watch. Understanding the events in the region and how they factor into the geo-political situation vis a vis Russia and the US is also worth being educated about.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film opens with the quote “Give me Liberty or Give me Death.” by American revolutionary Patrick Henry. The fight for freedom and self-determination that I witnessed in Ukraine is the same struggle that exists all over the world including the foundation that the United States was built on. On a personal level my background is Ukrainian and I filmed the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and made a film called “The Orange Chronicles” which was through my point of view as a Ukrainian-American. Again being the guide to the film viewer it was amazing to see the continuation of the same struggle after the disenchantment of the Orange Revolution.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
During the shooting I did not plan on putting myself in the film, but after several communications it was decided that having my personal story and perspective would make the film more relatable and personal. And so after the initial rough cut we wrote a voiceover that was tweaked many times. I had focus group sessions where I invited Americans to come watch the film and had them fill out anonymous questionnaires… and that feedback was used to tighten the edit.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
People are literally blown away by the film, viscerally and emotionally. They are shocked at the events and they know so little about them, and also feel the film very clearly and logically frames them. I’ve never seen a documentary film have such an impact on people. It’s really powerful to experience that for me and speaks to the power of the medium.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
No, I knew the events I was filming were absolutely incredible and unbelievable in the manner that they unfolded. It was really one for the history books, and I knew I had documented a once in a lifetime experience that was absolutely incredible to fathom.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I hope to reach a new audience of people who would be interested to know more about these events and independent/documentary film lovers in general.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Publicists, film festival directors, journalists. The film is very emotional, informative and impactful, but it really lacks the proper exposure.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
To educate people about the events in Ukraine so that they are no longer indifferent to them. I also want them to understand the goals and methods of modern Russia, which has become the main threat to the post Word War 2 world order.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Do you know what it looks like to look into the eyes of someone who is truly ready to die in their fight for freedom?
Would you like to add anything else?
Freedom…. Or Death. It was so powerful to see people unite in the face of oppression and against such great odds. Going up against Russia is a huge endeavor.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We are working on a web series called NYC ROCKS TV, documentary vignettes about people currently involved in the New York City rock n roll scene.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
“Freedom Or Death!”
American filmmaker Damian Kolodiy travels to Kyiv, Ukraine to document the brutal 2014 insurrection from the streets, as the people of Ukraine spontaneously rise up against their corrupt and oppressive government, going to war in the pursuit of a better future.
Director: Damian Kolodiy
Producer: Damian Kolodiy
Writer: Damian Kolodiy and Sean P. Murphy
About the writer, director and producer:
Damian Kolodiy is a filmmaker based in New York City where he freelances as a cameraman and video editor. He was also the Program Director of Kinofest NYC, a film festival showcasing contemporary Ukrainian film in New York. (www.KinofestNYC.com) His first feature documentary was on Ukraine's Orange Revolution titled "The Orange Chronicles". He also developed a web series focused on the New York City rock n roll scene called NYC ROCKS TV. His first feature film was an experimental sci-fi fantasy filmed titled “ill Generation”. He is a graduate of the Film program at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Indigegogo and Peter Chernyshov
Made in association with: