Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus
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Creating provocative theatre carries great personal risks: emotional, financial and artistic. For the members of the Belarus Free Theatre, there are additional risks: censorship, imprisonment, and worse. Director Madeleine Sackler goes behind the scenes with the acclaimed troupe of imaginative and subversive performers who, in a desolate country choked by censorship and repression, defy Europe’s last remaining dictatorship.
The film picks up the story in 2010 when the KGB is cracking down on dissenters, sixteen years after Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko takes power during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Now, as a dubious new presidential election looms, the KGB targets the Free Theatre's founders Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Koliada who, along with their colleagues, find themselves torn between fighting for their art and for their and their families’ safety.
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Toronto International Film Festival - World Premiere
IDFA: Reflecting Images - European Premiere
London Human Rights Watch Film Festival - Opening Night
Movies That Matter, The Netherlands
Planete + Doc Film Festival, Poland
Seattle International Film Festival, USA
Biografilm Festival, Italy
Human Rights Watch Film Festival, USA
AFI Docs, USA
Movies that Matter - Winner of Movies that Matter Award
TRT - Second place in the TRT Documentary Awards, 2014
Biografilm Festival - Biografilm Life Tales Award 2014 of the International Competition
Biografilm Festival - Audience Award | Biografilm Festival 2014 of the International Competition
"Madeleine Sackler's engrossing documentary chronicles upheaval in 'the last dictatorship in Europe' through the viewpoint of an underground theater company."
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
"An admirable document of courage and resistance - not just by the Free Theater members but the film-makers too, who risked their safety in filming Lukashenko’s hired thugs and in smuggling footage out of Belarus."
"Forced to smuggle parts of the film out of Belarus, Sackler snags interviews that illuminate the plight of artists without a country who live cut off from family and culture, yet manage by hook or by crook to practice their craft."
"Vivid and vital."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
"A "stinging" documentary full of "searing" images"