: Controversy around the 'Winter on Fire' documentary
Society17:46 Mar. 2, 2016
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Controversy around the 'Winter on Fire' documentary

Crew members plan to sue Film Director Evgeny Afineevsky

Ukrainian-American feature "Winter on Fire" did not only loose the best documentary nomination, but also the unity of its team.

Kostyantyn Ignatchuk, the script writer of the first version of "Winter on Fire" worked with film director Evgeny Afineevsky since the beginning of 2014. They both prepared the feature for Toronto Film Festival. At that time the first version of the film was called "Pray for Ukraine"

Yurii Ivanyshyn, "Winter on Fire" co-producer: "Kostyantyn worked more than any of us. He spent 3 months in the office of Ukrstream where he worked on documentary 24/7. Evgeny Afineevsky you know, he is a good organizer, I would call him a more producer rather than a film director. He is very emotional, ambitious he knows a lot of people and is good with networking."

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"Pray for Ukraine" where Afineevsky was the director and Ignatchuk the script writer was presented and screened in Ukraine only once.

Kostyantyn Ignatchuk, editor-in-chief of ukrstream.tv channel: "We've never met after the premier, we had a conflict and the major reason of it was our desire to show this movie in Europe and in Ukraine for free."

Yurii Ivanyshyn, General Producer of ukrstream.tv channel: "Kostyantyn called me and said that he is very much disappointed as he came to the office in the morning and Afineevsky either took hard disks with master copies, rough cuts, original features. And later in days we've realized he left to the US."

Evgeny Afineevsky, "Winter on Fire" Director: "It was even a version of the movie, it was a rough cut and I brought it to the US. I've intended to show it to studios."

This is the scene from "Pray for Ukraine" documentary. And here is the scene from "Winter on Fire".

Some of the differences are the duration, special features, graphics and music... but the scripts are very similar.

Evgeny Afineevsky, "Winter on Fire" Director: "There was no script for this movie, the Maidan was the only script writer. Kostya worked with us as part of the Ukrstream team. He can think of himself as whatever he wants."

After Afineevsky left to the US, he cut a part of his team off. Co-producers Pavlo Pelishol and Yurii Ivanyshyn joined the volunteer military battalions and now they are a part of the Ukrainian army. They've got permission from their senior officer to come to Los Angeles and their friend paid for tickets. They underline they are not motivated by financial benefits or royalties, but they want recognition they think they deserve. This is not only for the sake of principle, but also to enable them to apply for grants as an Oscar-nominated crew.

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Pavel Peleshok, executive supervisor of ukrstream.tv channel:
"This is the US, there is no place for charity. If you transferring the rights it should cost something. My only desire is to show that there is real production capacity in Ukraine."

Evgeny Afineevsky: "I want to show you a very interesting thing, this is my draft of the Oscar's speech. Is there - stop - is there Kostyantyn's name?"

Natalka Pishya: "Why are you yelling at me?"

Evgeny Afineevsky: "I will tell the press that you are destroying the image I've worked for! You are working for Russia!"

The plans and desires of both sides of the conflict are different: Afineevsky is preparing for the EMMY Awards, his opponents are preparing to file a lawsuit not only in Ukraine but also in the U.S.

Natalka Pisnya for Ukraine Today

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