September 26, 2023

Superpower, Sean Penn and Aaron Kaufman’s doc about Ukraine’s fight for freedom, is getting a launch in the war-torn Eastern European country today.

Fifth Season, which shops the film, has coordinated a day-and-date release for the doc in Ukraine alongside its launch on Paramount+ in the U.S. today.

The film will screen on leading Ukrainian net Inter, before running on other channels including NTN, Mega, and Sonce, as part of a plan to support the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russia’s invasion.

Superpower is billed as “a heart-wrenching glimpse into a country fighting for its freedom, featuring a series of intimate interviews done by Penn with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and others from seven trips over nearly a two-year period.” Penn and Kaufman are co-directors.

It began as a light-hearted project about Zelenskyy’s unusual rose from comic actor to President. However, when Russian troops began to build along the Ukraine border, the film’s tone change. While the film’s crew were preparing for their first on-camera interviews with Zelenskyy on February 24, 2022, Russia invaded and attacked the capital Kyiv.

Jennifer Ebell, EVP, EMEA Sales and Acquisitions, Fifth Season, said: “This film showcases the strength and unity of the Ukrainian people during their heroic, ongoing fight for freedom. We are honored to be involved in such a powerful project and to be able to share it with the Ukrainian people, who we continue to support in their inspirational and historic defense of their homeland.” 

Fifth Season and Vice Studios co-financed the doc. The film was produced by Vice Studios and Projected Picture Works alongside Penn, Billy Smith, Sergei Bespalov, Danny Gabai, and Lauren Terp. Kate Ward, Katie Peck, Andrew Freston, Bruce Dixon, Hozefa Lokhandwala, Subrata De, Susan Zirinsky, Terence Wrong, Anthony Gudas, Chad A. Verdi and Sasha Cherniavsky served as Executive Producers.

UN estimates suggest around 10,000 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the invasion, which looks likely to continue into 2024. Around 500,000 soldiers are believed to been killed or injured in the fighting, according to U.S. intelligence officials quoted last month in the New York Times.

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