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The Trial. The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov

Askold Kurov
Procies. Rosijska Dierżawa proti Olega Sencowa
Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic 2017 / 75’
Prisoner/Terrorist Tourists

It has been three years since Ukrainian director and Euromaidan activist Oleg Sentsov disappeared during a demonstration in Simferpol. Arrested and sent to Russia, he was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges. Numerous calls for his release have been made by the European Film Academy and the American PEN Club, among others, but they have not had any impact thus far. In a letter smuggled out of Siberia-where he is serving out his sentence-a few months ago, the director wrote about himself and other political prisoners:If we're supposed to become the nails in the coffin of a tyrant, I'd like to become one of those nails. Askold Kurov's documentary covers Oleg Sentsov's trial, as well as how his family, friends, and international organizations have been fighting for his release. In our view, there is no clear evidence for the absurd charges against the director (who supposedly organized terrorist attacks in Crimea); bribed "witnesses" provide false testimony and the Kafkaesque trial ends with a conviction- all the injustice is captured on-camera.

Małgorzata Sadowska


Docs Against Gravity FF 2017 – Amnesty International special mention

Askold Kurow

Born in Uzbekistan, Askold Kurov is a director, producer, and former packaging designer who currently lives in Russia. He completed a documentary course at a film school in Moscow in 2012. His work deals primarily with human rights issues and social conflicts in contemporary Russia. His film Winter, Go Away! was screened at the Locarno Festival. Kurov's documentaries are controversial in Russia, including Children 404, which deals with LGBTQ teens. Kurov and his colleague Pavel Loparev were interrogated by Russian prosecutors after the film's premiere.


2010 25 Sientiabria / September 25 (doc.)

2012  Zimo, idź precz! / Zima uchodi/ Winter Go Away (doc.)

2013 Leninlend / Leninland (doc.)

2014 Dzieci 404 / Dieti 404 / Children 404 (doc.)

2017 Proces. Federacja Rosyjska vs Oleg Sencow / Procies. Rosijska Dierżawa proti Olega Sencowa / The Trial - The State of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov (doc.)

Cast & Crew

director Askold Kurov
screenplay Askold Kurov
cinematography Askold Kurov
editing Michał Leszczyłowski
music Sorin Apostol
cast Oleg Sentsov, Vladimir Putin, Wiktor Janukowycz, Agnieszka Holland, Jos Stelling, Wim Wenders
producer Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova, Dariusz Jabłoński, Izabela Wójcik, Violetta Kamińska, Alena Müllerová
production Marx Film, Message Film, Czech Television
sales Apple Film
language Russian, Ukrainian, English
colouration colour