The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov

August 2015, a courtroom in Rostov-on-Don. A man is peering through the bars of his cage, his eyes reveal that his nerves are about to snap. Today he will be handed down a sentence to which he must submit: 20 years’ imprisonment in Siberia for terrorism. The man is Oleg Sentsov, a film director and Maidan activist born in Simferopol in the Ukraine. He is charged with leading an anti-Russian terrorist movement and having planned attacks on bridges, power lines and a monument of Lenin. Sentsov defends himself, courageously and without flinching. He responds to the verdict with an emphatic denial of his crimes and instead accuses the accusers themselves ...
In his documentary Askold Kurov investigates the truth behind this political show trial. Were the witnesses for the prosecution placed under duress? What effect did detention and the trial itself have on the accused and his family? The film also documents the solidarity shown to Sentsov by filmmaking colleagues such as Agnieszka Holland, Ken Loach and Pedro Almodóvar, and by the European Film Academy, which is beginning its 30th anniversary with this screening in order to campaign once more for Oleg Sentsov’s release.
by Askold Kurov Estonia / Poland / Czechia 2017 Russian, Ukrainian, English 75’ Colour Documentary form | 30 years of the European Film Academy


Director Askold Kurov
Cinematography Askold Kurov
Editing Michał Leszczyłowski
Music Sorin Apostol
Producers Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova, Dariusz Jabłoński, Izabela Wójcik, Violetta Kamińska
Co-Producer Alena Müllerová
Co-Production Česká televise Prag
In Cooperation with Polish Film Institute

Rise and Shine World Sales

Produced by

Marx Film

Message Film

Additional information

30 years of the European Film Academy

Askold Kurov

Born in Uzbekistan in 1974, he has lived in Russia since 1991. After studying philology, theatre and theology, he took a degree in documentary filmmaking at the Marina Razbezhkina Film School in Moscow. In 2012 he was one of the directors of the award-winning documentary Winter, Go Away! His next films Leninland and Children 404 also won critical acclaim and screened at numerous festivals. His work focuses on human rights issues and social conflicts in contemporary Russia.

Filmography (documentaries)

2010 September 25, 2010 2012 Winter, Go Away!; director of one segment 2013 Leninland 2014 Children 404 2016 The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentov

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017