BERLIN – US actor and director Sean Penn will premiere a documentary he filmed in Kyiv featuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Berlin film festival next month, organizers said.
The 73rd annual Berlinale, as the Feb. 16-26 event is known, will shine on the war, which will mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the event.
Penn’s “Superpower,” billed as “the story of a film project that forced reality to change into something uncontrollable but more important,” will be the most prominent of Ukraine’s entries to the festival.
Carlo Chatrian, co-director of the festival, told reporters that the film was made in “very difficult circumstances”.
Penn was in Kyiv filming a documentary in late February 2022 when the Russian invasion began.
The two-time Oscar winner was photographed attending a government press conference in Kyiv, and was seen meeting Zelensky in a video posted on the Ukrainian president’s Instagram account.
The 62-year-old actor shot the documentary for Vice Studios with co-star Aaron Kaufman.
Penn has previously drawn controversy for his involvement in the current case, especially after he and Mexican-American actress Kate del Castillo interviewed Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman while there he is on the run.
In 2018, Penn was reportedly in Turkey investigating the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate.
“Superpower” will appear in the special Berlinale section of the festival, without competition.
Chatrian said the festival, Europe’s first major cinema festival of the year, will feature several documentaries and feature films from Ukrainian directors, in addition to works from Iranian opposition filmmakers. , as a symbol of “unity”.
It will also provide free exhibition space to representatives of the Ukrainian film industry at the festival’s extensive European Film Market, and will feature co-production opportunities with directors ‘the Ukrainians have argued, said the Berlinale.
The 11-day festival will open with “She Came to Me,” a romantic comedy starring “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage and Oscar winners Marisa Tomei and Anne Hathaway.
American actress Kristen Stewart will lead the festival’s jury while Hollywood director Steven Spielberg is due to receive the Golden Bear Lifetime Achievement Award.