The 67th Berlin International Film Festival featured the world premiere of The Trial: The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov, an Estonian-Polish documentary directed by Askold Kurov.
The 67th Berlin International Film Festival marked the world premiere of The Trial: The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov, an Estonian-Polish documentary film directed by Askold Kurov. The film tells the story of Ukrainian director court-martialed in Russia and sentenced to 20 years in a maximum security prison for alleged terrorist activities.
The film had its world premiere on February 11, within the framework of celebrating the 30th anniversary of the European Film Academy. The documentary screened in the Berlinale Specials section of the festival. The motto of the EFA for its anniversary celebrations is "Solidarity Instead of Flowers."
When the film's Polish co-producer Dariusz Jabłoński called on the audience, over 650 audience members at the premiere screening raised yellow sheets of papers reading "Free Oleg Sentsov" and demanding the release of the Ukrainian director.
The screening was warmly received by the audience and followed by a discussion with head of the EFA Agnieszka Holland, Oleg Sentsov's cousin Natalia Kaplan, who does not cease in her efforts for his release, Sentsov's lawyer Dmitriy Dinze, and director Askold Kurov.
The premiere was widely featured and reviewed in international press. Variety wrote: "[the film] leaves you with a shuddering chill." Variety's reviewer also noted "All of [this] makes me wish that Trump would sit down and watch The Trial: The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov".
The Trial: The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov. Photo courtesy of Marx Film
The film was produced by Max Tuula (Marx Film), Maria Gavrilova, and Dariusz Jabłoński, Izabela Wójcik and Violetta Kamińska (Message Film), and Czech Television, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
The footage, collected over a period of over two years, was edited by Polish documentary filmmaker and editor Michał Leszczyłowski, based in Sweden. The film is a look at the Russian trial of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who has been charged with terrorism and sentenced to 20 years in a maximum security penal colony in Russia. Director Askold Kurov takes a look at the ruthless procedures of the trial and the efforts of Oleg's family, friends and lawyers to keep him out of prison. Kurov's investigation gradually reveals the absurdity of the situation and becomes a frightening Kafkaesque story about how anyone can be a victim of the ruthless regime.
Based on the press release