Kyiv, November 20, 2015. ‘Winter on Fire’ is a monument to those who were on Maidan, especially those who gave their lives to stand up against the worst the Yanukovych regime could do, said the film director Yevhen Afineevskyi while presenting the film at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Afineevskyi believes ‘Winter on Fire’ is the first chapter of Ukrainians’ fight for independence, and it is something unique the world had not seen before. He said the film had been watched by 69 million people all over the world. “We plan to cover the entire world by the end of the year. Maidan is a unique story of men and women who stood up and triumphed,” said the director.
When we had a film concept ready – Maidan chronicles, chronicles through the eyes of people who were at Maidan, we decided there would be no politicians, said Lina Klebanova, co-producer, SPN Production. “The Ukrainian people made Maidan, so it’s not so much artistic expression or a journalist’s approach. Instead this is the expression of civic Maidan […], that’s why this movie is very sincere,” believes the co-producer. Lina Klebanova admits it was psychologically difficult to shoot and assemble the video. The montage took five months and the team was working several shifts. They processed one thousand five hundred hours of video and shot about one hundred interviews, while Maidan was still standing. They managed to record living testimony of people who participated in the Revolution of Dignity. “The main thing is we managed to preserve the ‘spirit’, and it worked so powerfully that no Russian or any other propaganda can say true Maidan never happened,” said Klebanova.
Halyna Sadomtseva, co-producer, SPN Production, said that the movie is aimed at the entire world. “It’s not only our generation that will have this story. We got together and fought for our freedom, for our new independent country. The world knows this story, and it’s wonderful. We managed to do it and I’m proud of Ukrainians,” said Sadomtseva.
Film creators did not see each other until they started working at the film, says Yuriy Ivanyshyn, co-producer, Ukrstream-TV. Nevertheless, they were simultaneously doing one important thing – filming the events. Moreover, emphasized Ivanyshyn, we journalists showed marvelous selfless cooperation. There was not a single channel or journalist who would ask for money in exchange for videos they submitted. “It is another evidence of our awareness of what we were doing and why, and our main goal is to show it to as many people in the world as possible,” emphasized the co-producer.
‘Winter on Fire’ is to become a ‘reminder for next generations’ that authorities are elected by people and people are the source of power, and all of it can change at any moment,” says Artem Rykhalskyi, programmer and web-designer Ukrstream-TV. According to Rykhalskyi, this film will be a reminder for families of the Heavenly Hundred as well as all the people who contributed to the better future of Ukraine. Referring to this, Afineevskyi says that authorities who owe Maidan their rise to power, must remember that the people are the core of democracy and the authorities must serve their people.
United States Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt supported this opinion. “Too much has been sacrificed at Maidan and for 20 months of this war with the Russian aggressor to let the system go back to the past. Ukraine made this sacrifice to create a European future,” the Ambassador commented. According to Pyatt, telling the world what happened at Maidan is the most difficult challenge. It is bigger than “Ukraine” or “Europe”. It is the story of values, principles and future of democracy. “An American delegation headed by senator McCain came to Kyiv on the same day when the band ‘Ocean Elzy’ was playing on Maidan. The senator kept saying that it was the most powerful experience in his political career. Hundreds of thousand people coming together to say “we will not be defeated, we are going to seize control over our democracy, we are going to continue moving towards Europe,” said Pyatt. He says these are the principles supported by the USA.