Evgeny Afineevsky- A Modern Day Hero

While attending the screening of HBO’s Cries From Syria at the aTVfest, it became increasingly apparent that the director, Evgeny Afineevsky, is a modern day hero. The film provides insight to the ongoing Syrian civil war from the inside out, drawing from 100 hours of footage shot by activists and citizen journalists. The documentary is extremely difficult to watch because of the brutality and inhumane acts of terrorism, but it yields a greater understanding and awareness for what is really going on in Syria.




Evgeny Afineevsky is an American film director and producer, best known for directing Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom that earned him a nomination for Best Documentary Feature. He began making documentaries as a teenager and has since then transformed people's views on world affairs. Afineevsky visited refugees in Turkey and other European countries and witnessed a great deal of bombings and other horrific acts of terrorism. He risked his life in the filming of Cries From Syria, all in the hopes to provide “more compassion, more understanding, and no fear.”



The film is divided into four chapters, which cover the entire six years of the war. It follows refugees who flee towards Turkey and Europe in the hopes to escape the army of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. Army generals, leaders of the resistance, and citizen journalists all help to shed a light on the atrocities perpetrated by the Assad regime. The film focuses a great deal on the innocence of the Syrian people, children who have seen their schools being bombed, and families who have lost brothers and sisters to the chemical weapons.   



Evgeny Afineevsky says in an interview with Variety studio, “My hope is that people will understand, will be more open, will be more receptive, towards neighbors, and to Syrian people.”  This documentary is extremely prevalent with the U.S. President’s proposed ban on refugees from Syria, as well as six other countries. During the panel at aTVfest, Afineevsky discussed his hopes for the future in this difficult time. He says that he wants aspiring film directors and producers to consider the influence of a film, and he hopes that SCAD film majors will also seek to make a difference.