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Toronto screening of Sean Penn’s Ukraine film to help launch global non-profit

Organizers say the June 6 screening will be the first of several around the world
Sean Penn walks on stage prior to introducing a live video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the opening ceremony at the International Film Festival Berlin ‘Berlinale’, in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Markus Schreiber

The global launch of a new non-profit group against authoritarianism will include an invitation-only Toronto screening of Sean Penn’s documentary about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy next week.

“Superpower,” co-directed by Penn and Aaron Kaufman, focuses on Zelenskyy’s leadership amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and his country’s battle for survival.

Organizers say the June 6 screening in Toronto will be the first of several around the world as part of the launch of U.S.-based Humanity for Freedom, which is led by Kaufman and Dane Waters, an American political strategist and writer.

Organizers say the Toronto portion of the “72 Hours for Freedom” event was planned in partnership with Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv and Canadian entrepreneur Jay Rosenzweig, who is also executive producer of “Superpower.”

Penn previously told The Associated Press that he had his first on-camera meeting with Zelenskyy for the documentary just before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The original intent of “Superpower” was to focus on Zelenskyy’s turn from comedic actor to president, but the war in Ukraine changed everything and Penn ended up making multiple trips to the country to interview Zelenskyy and others.

In a news release about the Toronto screening, Penn and Kaufmann said they’re proud to use the documentary as a tool to raise awareness of Ukraine’s “urgent fight for freedom and justice.”

“Superpower” had its world premiere at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival.

—With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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