Francesco is not a biographical film about Pope Francis in the traditional sense. Rather, the documentary provides a glimpse into his work addressing so many issues of today; climate change, immigration, peace and religious tolerance, the LGBT community, gender and identity justice, health, and economic equality. As a result, we are given an example of leadership that provides hope and inspiration during one of the most unprecedented moments in our lives.
Evgeny Afineevsky is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated director. His documentary work dates back to his life in Russia as a teenager where he won First Prize for Best Documentary at the Black Sea International Film Festival. Afineevsky built his filmmaking career on providing a first-hand account of conflict, even if it meant putting his own life in danger. He’s since continued to demonstrate a commitment documenting important stories of change and social justice. In 2020 Catholics in Media Associates awarded Afineevsky with 2020 CIMA Social Justice Award for his passion for telling stories that matter, his love for humanity, and work for justice. His 2017 documentary CRIES FROM SYRIA, about the brutal five-year civil war in Syria, was nominated for 4 Emmy Awards and also earned a nomination for Best Documentary from the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, while Afineevsky won Best Director.
His film WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM was an official Selection of the Venice and Telluride International Film Festivals and won the People’s Choice Award for the Best Documentary from the Toronto International Film Festival. The film, which details the 2013 student uprising that transformed into a violent revolution, also looked at the shady negotiations between Ukraine’s corrupt former president, Viktor Yanukovich, and Russian president Vladimir Putin that kept Ukraine from joining the European Union. Afineevsky’s tenacity in his storytelling ultimately attracted the unwanted attention of Russian intelligence agents, who continue to track him and his work. WINTER ON FIRE earned an Oscar and Emmy nomination in 2016 and received the Television Academy Honors Award.