On November 22, 2004 in the Ukraine the regime-controlled media claimed victory for Viktor Yanukovych, handpicked by the corrupt sitting president. But credible exit polls showed Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition candidate, had won. It was shocking enough that Yushchenko had been poisoned — and nearly killed– while on the campaign trail. When reports came in of blatant voter intimidation and damaged ballots, people were outraged. When they realized election officials were in on the fraud, the people had had enough.
In freezing temperatures, over one million citizens poured into the streets of Kyiv and took up residence there. They marched in protest and paralyzed all state functions. For 17 days, a group of ordinary citizens engaged in extraordinary acts of political protest. Capturing the songs and spirit of this moment in history, Orange Revolution tells the story of a people united, not by one leader or one party, but by one idea: to defend their vote.
Facilitated by Stephan Sonnenberg, HLS lecturer on law and clinical fellow at the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program.
Runtime: 102 minutes
Steve York began tracking Ukraine’s presidential campaign in the summer of 2004. By Thanksgiving, as hundreds of thousands of citizens were gathering in Ukraine’s capital to protest the stolen election, news of their determined but peaceful demonstrations had exploded on to airwaves around the world. Days later, York boarded a flight to Kyiv with a small digital camera and headed straight to the tent city in Independence Square, known as the Maidan, to begin filming. In all, York made 5 trips to Ukraine, interviewing many of the major players in the revolution, from students on the street to the man who would become president, Viktor Yushchenko.
Orange Revolution is York’s second feature documentary. His first, A Force More Powerful (1999) about successful nonviolent revolutions, was expanded into a three-hour television series for air on PBS. Nominated for an Emmy, the series has been translated into numerous languages, including Arabic, Burmese, Indonesian, Farsi, Mandarin and Russian and Spanish and broadcast around the world. York has been producing award-winning documentaries for television since the 1980s. Topics range from Islamic fundamentalism to the Vietnam Memorial to American advertising. His recent documentary, Bringing Down A Dictator, was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody award. His company, York Zimmerman Inc, is based in Washington, D.C.
Stephan Sonnenberg joined the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) during the summer of 2007. Prior to HNMCP, Stephan worked with the International Rescue Committee in Kitgum District, northern Uganda, to promote community-owned strategies of preventing and addressing human rights abuses in communities traumatized by two decades of war. He received his graduate degrees from Harvard Law School, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, where he focused his studies on the intersections between human rights, conflict resolution, and humanitarian and development assistance to countries in transition. As a student activist, he coordinated several advocacy projects focusing on human rights issues in the United States, the former Soviet Union, Western Europe, and Africa.
This film is followed by a discussion with producer/director Steve York.
Free admission, food and drinks!