Release Date: 2021
Filming Locations: Kyiv, Ukraine
Language: Ukrainian, English, Italian, Russian
Run Time: 122 minutes
16-year-old Masha, who sees herself as an outsider, is studying in an ordinary high school in Kyiv. Her close friends Yana and Senia share her non-conformist status and help her not to feel strange and detached. In addition to worry about future exams, Masha is forced to leave her comfort zone when falling in love with her classmate Sasha. She understands that if she does not dare to ask, she will never know whether her love for a guy is mutual. While focusing on Masha, the film also switches to the perspectives of Senia, Yana, and Sasha to offer a fuller picture of their lives and relationships.
From debut Ukrainian director Kateryna Gornostai, this is a deeply personal story about self- discovery and the patience it requires.
"The film convincingly covers a variety of important topics which appeal to us as young people. Platonic love, queerness, solidarity and psychological stress reinforce the effect of the film as an authentic coming-of-age story. By virtue of creative visualisation techniques, it becomes clear in an artistic manner how our generation dreams, feels and experiences life. The message is conveyed that it is part of life to face certain fears in order to be able to enjoy the most exciting years of youth" —Statement of the Youth Jury, Berlinale
"Emotional and subjective realism takes precedence in this otherwise naturalistic and observational film" —Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
"Gornostai’s strengths are also evident in her recreations of adolescent egoism" —Elizabeth Weitzman, The Wrap
Film: Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedo
Release Date: 2015
Filming Locations: Ukraine
Language: Ukrainian, Russian, English
Run Time: 1 hr 38 minutes
Documentary about the Euromaidan protests: Over 93 days in Ukraine, from 21 November 2013 to 23 February 2014, what started as peaceful student demonstrations became a violent revolution and full-fledged civil rights movement.
Dan Fainaru of Screen Daily: "Consistently avoiding any attempt at political analysis, Afineevsky's cameras show ever-expanding crowds, young and old, men and women, Christians, Jews, Muslims, academics and proletarians, all united under the one common cause, the removal of a man who, in their eyes, embodied the concept of corruption. Often exasperated by the politicians who were supposed to represent them and who cheated them, these people were willing to die, if necessary, to achieve their goal, displaying an idealistic fervour (i.e. the joined support of all religions) rarely encountered in normal circumstances".
Eric Kohn from IndieWire: "Winter on Fire features the intensity of an action movie and the fury of a clear-eyed polemic. [...] An exciting montage of the developing crowd ends with close to a million protestors gathered together at the centre of town in a stunning act of defiance. [...] Despite the ongoing power of these scenes, Winter on Fire achieves its finest shot with a bird’s eye view of the Maidan protests, as thousands of activists push back against a black mass of officers and congeal into an insurmountable wall. With images like these, Afineevsky doesn't need to push the message about the protesters' durability; it's right there on the screen."
Jay Weissberg from Variety: "Winter on Fire is an "accessible film, with greater TV appeal, but it's also limited by its insistence on shoehorning everything into one perspective, albeit a perspective shared by the majority of Ukrainians."
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and the Primetime Emmy Award in the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking category. It was also one of the winners of the 2016 Television Academy Honors.