Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom 

This is a photo of four arms of varying skin tones holding onto each other. Each hand is clutching a wrist, creating a perfect square, or an endless connection.
Everyone has the power to draw others together or tear them apart. Tumisu via Pixabay

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival presenting unique perspectives 

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF) is an important source that focuses on storytelling. It gives a glimpse into the various issues that plague our world. This gives creators the opportunity to create content that means something to them, content that allows them to shine light on important issues and raise awareness for these issues. This is ultimately how we are able to foster change. Without awareness, there is no growth and introspection.  

There are many documentaries that are available to watch this year. They focus on a wide range of issues, such as climate change, food, migration, and more. There is something for everyone, depending on your interests. In a world booming with content, it is important to use our access to such content by educating ourselves on important matters and understanding how they hold power over humanity. 

Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom is a 2022 documentary film that was written and directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. The film premiered during the 79th Venice Film Festival. The documentary focuses on the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is a unique documentary, focuses on the war from the perspective of Ukrainian citizens, and it highlights the struggle and battle for independence in the face of Russian aggression.  

The film provides a historical background of the war by exploring Russia’s relationship with Ukraine over the years. It transitions to the events of 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and began giving support to rebels in eastern Ukraine. Ultimately, this is what led to the conflict in which thousands of civilians lost their lives.  

The documentary features interviews with Ukrainian soldiers, activists, politicians, and citizens. What makes it unique is that it gives citizens the opportunity to recount the war and offer their own personal beliefs on the issue. This highlights the bravery and sacrifice of citizens who are going through something so brutal and horrific. War is not pretty. It is mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. It takes a toll on the lives of people. It changes lives. It leads to intergenerational trauma that is extremely difficult to overcome. Furthermore, war displaces people and separates families and loved ones. This is the cruel reality of war: crippling loneliness in a world where you are separated from your family, friends, country, and everything you have ever known.  

Freedom on Fire is a must-watch documentary. It is important to understand the war in Ukraine and its complexities. Russia and Ukraine have a long history between them. This documentary seeks to educate viewers by offering a view of the intricacies of war. The website for the film,, states “It is an exploration of the courage of the Ukrainian people, fiercely determined to stand their ground until ‘the last drop of blood.’”  

The documentary is interesting because it highlights how horrific events can serve as the domino effect to unite people on the journey to defending their own country. Many people have chosen to flee the country, while others have chosen to stay and fight for it. Many cultures focus on the importance of dying in the land where you were born. They believe that this is the best way to leave your mark on your world, that it is better to pass away in a place that feels like home to you rather than a different, cold, and scary world that is unfamiliar to you. That is the terrifying thing about war: facing the unknown. 


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