The Berlin International Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, has announced that American actor and director Sean Penn's documentary "Superpower" will premiere in February at the festival. The film features Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and was shot in Ukraine.
A Chronicle of a Film Project
The festival's press release describes "Superpower" as "the chronicle of a film project that reality forced to change into something less controllable but more meaningful". Penn was in the Ukrainian capital in February 2022 when Russia launched an all-out attack and returned to the country to continue filming.
The Ukrainian president's office has expressed gratitude for Penn's "courage and honesty." Berlinale Executive Director Mariette Rissenbeek said Penn's arrival at the festival was expected, and the documentary will be shown in the festival's Special Gala program, but it will not be in the running for the main prize, the Golden Bear.
18 films will be competing for the award.
Berlinale: A Leading Film Festival
The Berlinale, which runs from February 14 to 26, is one of the world's leading film festivals, along with Cannes and Venice. This year's festival jury will be headed by Hollywood actress Kristen Stewart, and director Steven Spielberg will be receiving the honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement.
Sean Penn visited Ukraine
In February, he shot a documentary in this country amid the Russian invasion. "Ukraine is the tip of the spear for the democratic embrace of dreams. If we allow it to fight alone, our soul as America is lost," he said then.
"American actor and film director Sean Penn @seanpenn came to Ukraine for the third time during the full-scale war already." said Zelensky. “This time our meeting was special. Sean brought his Oscar statuette as a symbol of faith in the victory of our country.
It will be in Ukraine until the end of the war. It was with great pleasure that I presented Sean Penn with the Order of Merit of the III degree. Thank you for such sincere support and significant contribution to the popularization of Ukraine in the world." His name was also engraved on a stone on the Walk of the Brave, which recognizes "brave people who have stood with Ukraine since the beginning".
A post on Zelenskyy’s Instagram page read:
"The Walk of the Brave is a place thanks to which present and future generations of Ukrainians will remember those brave people who have stood with Ukraine from the very beginning.
Next to the names of many world leaders who helped Ukraine during the war, there is a name plaque of Sean Penn. @seanpenn visited Ukraine on the first day of the Russian invasion to document the events in our country and tell the world the truth about Russian aggression.
Such support for Ukraine and its people is extremely valuable."