Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with CNN Digital Studios on “You Are Your Password.” It is a branded content documentary short on innovations in biometrics for the UK government’s ‘Welcome to Great Britain’ campaign. I created two animated commercials for the piece that show case the utopian potential of the technology as well as some of the dystopian risks as well. You can see the two commercials in this post, and the full documentary here.
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.
I did an interview with Paul Gallagher of DangerousMinds, who also reviewed the film.
The issues of freedom and democracy are at the heart of a new feature-length documentary by writer and director Rupert Russell. His film Freedom for the Wolf is epic in scale—covering events on four continents—finely made, thoughtful and nuanced. It examines how different people across the world—from Tunisian rappers to Indian comedians, from America’s #BlackLivesMatter activists to Hong Kong’s students—are joining the struggle for “the world’s most radical idea—freedom—and how it is transforming the world.”
Rupert Russell has made a highly original and thought-provoking film. It examines the dangerous rise in illiberal democracies which is not just happening in China or Tunisia or India but here in the West in the ‘home of the free and the brave.’
You can read the whole (long!) piece here.
Ayear has passed since the police fired tear gas on pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, setting off a huge sit-in protest movement that took control of a large portion of the center of the city for more than two months, generating headlines the world over and shocking the Communist Party leaders in Beijing.
The Umbrella Movement, named for the shields that protesters used to defend themselves against tear gas and pepper spray, now belongs to the ages, its meaning and significance to be slowly digested by scholars and filmmakers for years to come.
A new documentary, “Freedom for the Wolf,” set for release next year, brings academia and movie making together, featuring the Hong Kong protests as an essential part of a global struggle against the rise of “illiberal democracy” — what the director, Rupert Russell, who has a doctorate in sociology from Harvard, calls “voting without rights.”