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!

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.

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.

“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.

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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.

Freedom for the Wolf was featured in the New York Times today:

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.”

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