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.
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.
“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.