On September 7, at the 79th Venice Film Festival, the out-of-competition premiere of the documentary film Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Struggle for Freedom about the war in Ukraine by the American director Evgeny Afineevsky will take place.

Filming continued in Ukraine until the second week of August, and Afineevsky completed work on the film only on August 31, when Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed celebrities and foreign press at the festival’s opening ceremony, urging the world not to forget the war in Ukraine, reports Variety.

“It’s important not to avoid the fact that the war is still there,” says the director. “It’s important to use our ability as filmmakers who are coming from Hollywood to give a spotlight to these stories, when the world is seeing them less on their TV screens,” said the director.

Evgeny Afineevsky was nominated for an Oscar for the 2015 documentary Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, about the mass demonstrations on the Maidan in Kyiv that ousted Viktor Yanukovych from power. His latest film not only recounts the current war through the accounts of survivors, but demonstrates how the events of that winter prompted Russian President Putin to seize Ukraine’s Crimea and lead directly to the present day.

Afineevsky describes it as “a chance to document the next chapter of [Ukraine’s] fight for freedom.” The director himself was born in russia and lives in Los Angeles, where he proudly displays the Ukrainian flag that flew over the Maidan during the 2014 revolution in his home.

“You realize that history is happening, and you need to document it for future generations,” he says. “In today’s world, sometimes people are rewriting history. And I wanted to preserve this history as it happened.” This is the story, he adds, of “a nation that is determined to fight until their last drop of blood for their homeland.”

After completing Winter on Fire, which is available to stream on Netflix, Afineevsky remains in touch with most of the team behind the film. When the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the director quickly began reaching out to his Ukrainian colleagues, many of whom were either fleeing or trying to document the war.

To show the chronicle of the Russian war in real time, the director involved more than 40 cinematographers scattered across Ukraine. He also collaborated with nine editors, three production managers, and more than two dozen graphic artists and animators, most of whom still live and work in Ukraine.

“I tried by all means to support my colleagues who are there, because I know how difficult it is for them,” says the director. “It is important for me to be for them and with them.”

At the beginning of March, Afineevskyi flew to Poland, from where he reached Ukraine and entered the front line. In one scene of the documentary, a Russian bomb falls just a few steps from where the film crew is filming.

Despite this, as the director notes, the film crew documented stories of hope, determination and defiance, and the film itself opens with a stand-up comedian performing in a bomb shelter.