Orange Winter

Festivals and Awards

The film tells a story of what now appears to be a prequel to the Maidan Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine in 2014.

On November 21, 2004 the people of Ukraine were supposed to elect a new president. They had the choice of two candidates: an appointed heir - Victor Yanukovich, the prime minister in the government of the very unpopular outgoing president, and Victor Yushchenko, a popular opposition leader. 
Victor Yushchenko was perceived as a pro-Western, pro - European Union candidate, Victor Yanukovich as a post-Soviet, pro-Russian politician with a questionable past. 
The outgoing president Leonid Kuchma had an important personal stake in this election. For years the opposition had blamed him for various crimes – from corruption to involvement in the murder of an opposition journalist. A hand-picked “heir” was his best chance to secure post-presidential immunity.
The day after the election, the state controlled media declared Victor Yanukovich a winner.
Suspecting fraud the outraged people of Kiev took to the streets staging the biggest mass protest in post-Soviet history.

"Orange Winter" conveys the ultimate national drama which history has dubbed "the Orange revolution".

Panel discussion "Filming the Revolution" at Istanbul International Film Festival (April 2012).

ArtDocFest, Moscow, 2014
Special Program
"Ukrane Is Not Russia"

DocuDays, Kiev, 2014
Andrei Zagdansky retrospective

"Culture Unplugged" International Online Film Festival, 2013

Istanbul International Film Festival
Turkey, 2012

Juror's Choice Selection (1st Prize)
27 Annual Black Maria Film + Video Festival,
USA,  2008

SF Doc Fest 2007
Roxie Film Theater
San Francisco, USA, 2007

Two Boots Pioneer Theater
Two week limited release,
New York, May-June 2007

"Contact" IDFF 
Kiev, Ukraine, 2007 

"Special Mention" Award
Punto De Vista IDFF OF Navarra, 
Pamplona, Spain, 2007

Orange Winter (2007) on IMDb

"Orange Winter" is more than a mere history lesson. Like Norman Mailer's nonfiction novel "The Armies of the Night,"... this movie characterizes a body politic as a living thing, and charts its internal changes as if it were the protagonist in a drama”. 
Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times more... 

"...inspiring", "a candid and exciting nonfiction account of a fascinating contemporary popular struggle". 
Bruce Bennett, New York Sun more...

"A workmanlike piece...a concise and cogent account of epochal events. Global tube exposure awaits." 
Joe Leydon, Variety more...

"Dovzhenko's silent masterpiece Earth is invoked as a classic example of Ukrainian revolution... this artistic juxtaposition lends its portrayed events an appropriately mythic tinge". 
Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine more...

“has passion to spare...tight and swift”
New York Magazine more

"We Americans love to bask in our smug feeling of superiority over the former Soviet Bloc countries, their culture and their government. That makes Orange Winter doubly relevant, as the United States lurches toward socializing insurance companies and bank losses. Could tent cities be far behind?
The film is thought-provoking, if not as stylish as Americans are used to. No high-concept stunts, no special effects. Just political theater. Director Andrei Zagdansky uses slow narration ranging from simple to poetic to guide viewers over news footage, Russian opera and cinema clips to illustrate the march of history and how little has changed in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War." 
Holly J. Wagner Home Media Magazine more


Orange Winter reimagines the extremely contentious Ukraine election of 2004 as an opera, similar to Jessica Yu's latest the Protagonist. Director Andrei Zagdansky intercuts ground-eye footage of the protests, tent city, riots and lengthy court battle with two classical operas: “Godunov” and “La Traviata”. With reform candidate Viktor Yushchenko being poisoned and suffering horrible facial disfigurement and the protest tent cities that inhabited the public squares of Kiev made this historical event extremely photogenic and has led to many documentaries about the "orange revolution" (orange being symbolic of non-violent protest in Ukraine). This crowding of the subject matter makes Zagdansky's approach very refreshing, opera practically being a second religion in the Ukraine it's a fantastic entree to a national culture that rings very sincere and makes opera far less boring and foreign than it normally seems to an American audience.

There also breathtaking moments of democracy's growing pains such as when a television interpreter for the deaf defies station policy of supporting the establishment candidate and signs during a live broadcast, "the media is lying to you, I suspect I will disappear after tonight. Don't trust them." The film also does a fine job of encapsulating some of the cultural divide between Communist stalwart Russian-speakers and the more urban, younger Ukrainian-speaking people.

At the halfway point Zagdansky stops using the opera device and the film loses a bit of momentum but this is a touching and earnest account of what it was like to live through this turning point in Ukraine history.

Erin Donovan, Steady Diet of Film


"I have been thinking of writing you since the beginning of summer, which started unexpectedly special this year.
I have watched your film "Orange Winter" two times again this summer, during the Gezi Park resistance, once alone after a hard day of clashes with the police, and once with some friends again during the resistance. Of course, this time every image said different things to me; the atmosphere, the tents, resistance, solidarity, hope, fatigue but again hope, realizing how big is "WE". I am 46, and I never felt this young in my life. And even though your film was not a very cheerful one, somehow we all felt so good and motivated while watching it, even though our clothes and my home were still heavily smelling tear-gas.
I wanted to share this with you".

Key credits 

Conceived, directed and edited by Andrei Zagdansky 
Narration written by 
Alexander Genis
Narrator Matthew Gurewitsch
Music by Modest Mussorgsky,
Giuseppe Verdi
Original score by 
Alexander Goldstein
Cameramen Vladimir Guevsky, 
Igor Ivanov, Pavel Kazantzev
Produced by Andrei Zagdansky and 
Gleb Sinyavsky
© 2006 AZ Films LLC. 
All rights reserved.


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