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Oscar-winning actor, and pro-Ukraine activist, Sean Penn has signed on to star in the Ukrainian war film War Through the Eyes of Animals.
The feature is a nine-part anthology, directed by nine Ukrainian filmmakers, that tells the story of the war in Ukraine through the perspectives of various animals caught up in the conflict. Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi, the acclaimed Ukrainian director of The Tribe (2014), will direct the ninth and final segment, which will star Penn as an American sound engineer who inadvertently becomes a witness to the outbreak of war when, on February 24, 2022, Russian forces invade.
Filming of the segment is scheduled to take place in Ukraine and Los Angeles during the summer of 2023.
Penn has been an outspoken supporter of Ukraine since the start of the war. The two-time Oscar winner was in Ukraine shooting a documentary for Vice Studios when the war broke out. The film, co-directed with Aaron Kaufman, was initially intended as a tongue-in-cheek look at the comic actor turned president Volodymyr Zelensky. Instead, it became Superpower, a depiction of Zelensky’s heroic wartime leadership. When the film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival this year, Penn used the opportunity to call on Western governments to provide greater military support for Ukraine.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this film. It is a great honor for me to collaborate with the incredible actor and outstanding person, and one of Ukraine’s greatest friends, Sean Penn,” said Slaboshpytskyi. “He was with us during the attack on the 24th of February and deeply explores the war and Ukraine in his documentary film. His support is invaluable to us and cannot be overstated.”
War Through the Eyes of Animals is being produced by Ukrainian production outfits SOTA Cinema Group and Kleos Art, with Oleg Kokhan and Oleksiy Makukhin serving as producers.
“All the stories in our film anthology are based on real events,” noted Kokhan, “and it is crucial for us that artists of Sean Penn’s caliber not only acknowledge the terrifying reality we depict, but also contribute their voices. This underscores the relevance of the film’s ecocide theme in Ukraine. Every bullet, every rocket fragment, and every drop of polluted fuel that contaminates our land represents a slow-acting chemical weapon that devastates our ecosystem. Sean Penn has witnessed firsthand the situation in Ukraine, making it unnecessary to convince him of the theme’s importance. He belongs to the select group of stars who wholeheartedly support causes they believe in and are ready to take action.”
War Through the Eyes of Animals is set for release in the winter of 2023-2024.
You can check out the trailer for the film below.
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