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Screening and Live Event | The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov

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After the Russian annexation of Crimea, Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, activist, and native of the region, became an active opponent of the occupation. In May 2014, he was arrested by the Russian security service, charged with planning terrorist attacks, and later sentenced to 20 years in prison deep in Siberia. Since then human rights activists, filmmakers, and politicians have been advocating for his release. In 2017 PEN America honored Sentsov with the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award and mobilized our community to support him.

In The Trial, Director Askold Kurov follows the progress of Sentsov’s trial and the efforts to have him released. Kurov’s documentary investigation deepens and darkens into a Kafka-esque story about a man trapped inside a state machine. At the time of this screening, Oleg Sentsov is in his second month of a hunger strike. He is demanding the release of 64 Ukrainian nationals jailed after Russia’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

The screening of this film will be followed a conversation with author Masha Gessen and Estonian filmmaker Max Tuula, who produced this movie, and whose credits also include The Term and My Friend Boris Nemtsov.


Masha Gessen is the author of the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, as well as The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy. She is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Born in Vladivostok, Russia, Max Tuula is an Estonian producer, whose credits include The Term, My Friend Boris Nemtsov, and The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov.

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