My feature documentary Freedom for the Wolf has been nominated for Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2019 by the Cinema for Peace foundation. Just to be competing in the same category as Peter Jackson (They Shall Not Grow Old), Werner Herzog (Meeting Gorbachev), and Ai Weiwei (Why We Are Creative) is an incredible honour. I will be in Berlin during Berlinale next month to go to the gala.
Honored that my feature-documentary Freedom for the Wolf won the Best Political Film prize at the Portobello Film Festival last night. A year after we premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest, we’re still going strong on the festival circuit. After the dozens of festivals we’ve screened at Protobello Film Festival is the first one that has been entirely free. I think this is a fantastic model to bring in new audiences into independent film and I’d love to see more of it!
Thanks to this win, I got booked on the Jo Good Show on BBC Radio London. Even a year and half after our premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest, the problem of fake democracy is – unfortunately – still as relevant as ever.
This was the month that Freedom for the Wolf hit theatres in the United States. We had screenings at film festivals in Boulder, Atlanta, Sarasota, Detriot, and Cleveland. We had screenings outside the U.S., at the Human Rights Arts and Films Festival in Melbourne, Austrialia, the Solidarity Film Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Human Rights Film Festival in San Sebastian, Spain, where it was the opening night film. I’ve been busy this month prepping my next feature, so I was only able to make it down to San Sabastian. The screening was in this incredible historic theatre by occean. I also did an interview with Haaretz prior to our screening in Israel. We’ve gotten into 24 film festivals, and screened at 19 so far, and still more festivals are watching screeners – so more to come!
I had a busy February and March screening my feature documentary, Freedom for the Wolf, at human rights film festivals across Europe. We were honored to be the opening night film of the Human Rights Film Festival and Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. We screened the film and I did question and answer session with the audience right before the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, gave the keynote speech. It was an incredible experience to be there with the world’s leading human rights activists, diplomats, and experts. Freedom for the Wolf was the closing night film for the HUMANS Fest in Valencia, Spain. I also took part in a panel discussion on human rights and cinema. Last stop was Olso, where I hosted two screenings at the Human Rights, Human Wrongs Festival. This makes a great start to the films 2018 festival season: the documentary will playing in ten film festivals around the world in April.
My documentary feature, Freedom for the Wolf, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Slamdance Film Festival! This is such a great honour both to the film and the large team of people who sacrificed so much to make such an ambitious film a reality. The entire team are thrilled that the audience picked our film as the festival favorite as its shows that people are hungry for films that are idea-driven and tackle the big questions of our time. And we picked up a rave review from Slug Magazine:
The visuals are gorgeous, the message is powerful and the footage is at times heartbreaking, but all of these elements expose the truth about who is involved with protesting their leaders, what their reasons are for doing so and how these elected officials have been reacting to their cries.
I gave an interview to Resit Radio about the film and the current state of resistance politics in the U.S. and beyond, which you can listen to here. I also did an interview with Mountain Morning Show on Park City TV to promote our screenings.
Just returned from an intense week at IDFA: five screenings of Freedom for the Wolf and pitching a new project at the IDFA Forum. All five screenings sold out three days before the festival began, every theatre was packed, and the question and answer sessions were lively and fun. We got great reviews from Filmuforia, Dirty Movies, and made VICE‘s “top ten” docs of the festival. I gave an interview to the IDFA Daily about my transition from academia into filmmaking and I caught up with Dangerous Minds and gave an interview about how the stories in Freedom for the Wolf are progressing. And we released the trailer. On top of all that, we found out that the film will be screening at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2018!
We had a screening of Freedom for the Wolf at the United Nations Associate Film Festival (UNAFF) hosted at Stanford University. The screening was in the very same building that we had interviewed Stanford professors Francis Fukuyama and Larry Dimond about the end of history, illiberal democracy, and the future of freedom. So when Francis Fukuyama joined us for the question and answer session after the screening, it really felt like the project had finished where it had started.
Had a wonderful time at the Warsaw Film Festival this weekend. Three screenings of Freedom for the Wolf, each with an extensive (hour long!) Question and Answer session. Lively debate about the meaning of freedom, the future of democracy, and how we can all make the world a better place. Really inspiring to be surrounded by so many idealistic people – young and old – who won’t accept the status quo and believe that they can build a better future for themselves and their children. We also picked up a great review from the festival written by Vladan Petkovic at Cineuropa:
Freedom for the Wolf is an indispensable documentation of the current tumult around the world, thoroughly researched, convincing and surprisingly enlightening. It shows us the depth of events unfolding with increasing speed, so much so that another such film may be needed very soon.
“Documentary can also be entertaining, as in Rupert Russell’s Freedom for the Wolf … Russell’s philosophical look at how democracy operates across the globe seems specifically devised to provoke debate in the first instance and activism in the second.” – Little White Lies
Our premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest was fantastic. We sold out for both screenings. I had a great in depth discussion about the film in Tudor Square with filmmaker Rajesh Thind. I gave several press interviews for the film, including this extended one for State of the Arts. We got our first reviews in Exposed Magazine and Backseat Mafia. We made the top ten lists of both The Huffington Post and Little White Lies.
Proud to announce that my documentary feature Freedom for the Wolf will be premiering at Sheffield Doc/Fest on June 12, 2017. Also, our Executive Producer, Nick Fraser, formerly of BBC Storyville and now of Yaddo, just won a BAFTA.
FREEDOM FOR THE WOLF, the powerful documentary debut from writer and director Rupert Russell will receive its UK premiere at the 2017 Sheffield International Documentary Festival on 12 June with a second public screening on 13 June.