Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine

Higher Education DVD + PPR: $289.00

Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine

From Academy Award Winning
Director Mark Jonathan Harris

Just days after the revolution in Ukraine, the country was invaded by Russia. Ukrainians of all backgrounds rallied to the country’s defense, in the process creating a new sense of Ukrainian nationhood. Breaking Point depicts these turbulent events, at times heroic, at times tragic, through the eyes of people who lived them.

Stunning images of Maidan, the siege of Donetsk airport, the Illovaisk massacre,
the gruesome wreckage of MH17, and the touching testimonies of Ukrainian volunteers and their families tell the story . . . that few
in the West pay attention to, much less comprehend.”

—Paul Roderick Gregory,
research fellow at the Hoover Institute

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Higher Education DVD + PPR $289.00
Higher Education DVD + PPR + Streaming License $439.00
K-12 and Nonprofit Groups DVD + PPR $239.00

Powerful, cogent and persuasive . . . insight into the dilemma Europe
and the world now face. ‘Breaking Point’ is a documentary film
at its best. If Russia’s destructive aggressions so graphically shown in
‘Breaking Point’ are allowed to stand unchallenged, a return to the Cold War or worse will result.”

—William G. Miller, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine 1993–1998

Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine is an intimate look at the war and revolution in Ukraine through the eyes of ordinary people who risked their lives to create a more democratic, equitable, and independent country.

The film’s principal characters are a children’s theater director, a doctor, a rabbi, a TV journalist, an investigative reporter, and a lawyer turned medic and her soldier husband. Their lives were transformed by the tumultuous, three-month revolution on the Maidan, which ended in the death of 123 protestors and the flight of corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych. When Russia retaliated by annexing Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine, our subjects went to war to defend and remake their country. The film depicts this intense and on-going struggle, which has so far killed 10,000 Ukrainians and displaced 1.9 million refugees.

Breaking Point is the dramatic and inspiring portrait of people willing to give up their private, normal lives to unite in a collective effort to bring the rule of law and democracy to their country. Their battle to wrest power from the autocrats and plutocrats who control their governments is a struggle that is being waged around the world, from the Mideast to America. The outcome affects not only the future of Ukraine, but the future of democracy throughout the world.


Run time: 98 minutes
2016 USA / Ukraine
Languages: English, Ukrainian, Russian
English Subtitles, Closed Captioned


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Mark Jonathan Harris (Director/Producer/Writer)

Mark Jonathan Harris is an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and Distinguished Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Among the many documentaries he has written, produced and/or directed are Huelga!, the landmark film about Cesar Chavez and the Delano grape strike (1968); and The Redwoods, which won an Oscar for Best Short Documentary and helped establish a redwood national park (1968). The Long Way Home, a film he wrote and directed about the period immediately following the Holocaust, won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 1997; and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, which he also wrote and directed, won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 2000 and was selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for inclusion in its National Film Registry. Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives (2003), a documentary that he wrote on slavery in America, was nominated for an Emmy for a Nonfiction Special and Harris was nominated for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming. He also wrote The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing, a documentary about editing produced by BBC-TV, NHK, and STARZ, which is shown in film schools around the world (2004). In 2007, he produced Darfur Now, a film about the humanitarian crisis in Africa, which was nominated as best documentary of the year by the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association and won an NAACP Image Award. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, a film he executive produced, premiered at the Venice film festival and was shortlisted for the 2011 Oscar for best feature documentary. Code Black, another documentary he executive produced about ER doctors, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival and became the basis for the CBS series of the same name.

In 2010 the International Documentary Association honored him with its Scholarship and Preservation Award. He holds the Mona and Bernard Kantor Chair of Production at the School of Cinematic Arts, where he heads the documentary program.

Oles Sanin (Director/Producer)

Oles Sanin was born on July 30, 1972, in Kamyn-Kashurskiy. He graduated from the Kyiv National Karpenko-Karyi University of Dramatic Art in 1993 as an actor, and again in 1998 with a degree in feature film directing.

Mr. Sanin has worked for INTERNEWS Ukraine, both as a director, and as the head of the department of features and documentaries. He also has been a director at the Dovzhenko National Film Studio and the Ukrknokhronika film studio. He is currently the head of the Young Cinematographers Association, a part of the National Association of Ukrainian Cinematographers.

He has produced dozens of documentary films for Internews Network, Canal+, Channel 1+1, NTV, TNT, POLSAT, DALAS studio, IKON, PRO Helvecia and others. He has been the director/producer of several documentary films, and the director of a chain of documentary and live-action short films.

Oles Sanin received the Alexander Dovzhenko State Award of Ukraine for the film Mamay (2003), and won the Silver Medal of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts, and the Brothers Lumiéres’ Silver Medal. Mamay was Ukraine’s official entry for the Academy Awards nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2004. His film The Guide (2014) was a sensation in Ukraine and is the highest-grossing Ukrainian language film in Ukraine’s history. The Guide was nominated for the Grand Prix at the 2014 Warsaw International Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the 2014 Odessa International Film Festival. The Guide was Ukraine’s official entry for the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Sanin plays bandura, turban, and wheel lyre, and he carries on the Volyn region lyrist tradition. He makes musical instruments, having inherited this handicraft from his grandfather. He is a member of the Kyiv Kobzarship under the pseudonym Oles Smyk.

Peter Borisow (Producer)

Peter Borisow grew up in New York, attended Bronx High School of Science and graduated from NYU with a degree in history in 1966. In 1967, he moved to Italy to study human anatomy in Bologna. More interested in problem solving challenges in the arts, business and society, he began working as a business advisor, eventually ending up in trade finance working with merchant banks in Holland.

In the late 70’s Borisow became interested in film finance, moved to Amsterdam, and began extensive work analyzing film revenues and investment risks and creating one of the earliest algorithms for evaluating film investments, published in 1984 as “Film Finance Insurance,” which established critical mass and risk management parameters for film package investment. During these years Borisow was involved in financing films ranging from the farcical Mama Dracula (who slept in a coffin filled with chopped chicken livers) to A Breed Apart (Kathleen Turner and Rutger Hauer), Gunrunner (introducing Kevin Costner) and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto). Since then Borisow was worked as advisor to private film investors.

Drawn to Ukraine by his Ukrainian roots, Borisow became interested in Ukraine’s emerging democracy and film industry. He has advised former President Yuschenko, former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, most Ministers of Culture as well as film makers. When asked which is the best Ukrainian movie made since independence, Borisow states, without reservation, Oles Sanin’s The Guide (Povodyr).

Paul Wolansky (Writer/Producer)

Paul Wolansky has worked as a writer on award-winning films including The Guide (Povodyr), The Monkey’s Paw and Just Married. The son of Ukrainian immigrants, his family was severely persecuted by Stalin. An Associate Professor at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, he teaches all levels of screenwriting and has previously taught at the School of Cinema-Television at USC and at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin.