Evgeny Afineevsky is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated director. His documentary work dates back to his life in Russia as a teenager where he won First Prize for Best Documentary at the Black Sea International Film Festival. Afineevsky built his filmmaking career on providing a first-hand account of conflict, even if it meant putting his own life in danger. He’s since continued to demonstrate a commitment documenting important stories of change and social justice. In 2020 Catholics in Media Associates awarded Afineevsky with 2020 CIMA Social Justice Award for his passion for telling stories that matter, his love for humanity, and work for justice.
His 2017 documentary CRIES FROM SYRIA, about the brutal five-year civil war in Syria, was nominated for 4 Emmy Awards and also earned a nomination for Best Documentary from the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, while Afineevsky won Best Director. The film earned IPA Satellite Awards nominations for Best Documentary and Best Song in a Documentary for PRAYERS FOR THIS WORLD, performed by Cher. The Awards Circuit Community Awards nominated his movie as Best Documentary Feature for 2017. He won International Documentary Association’s Courage Under Fire Award, earned a PGA Award nomination, and won a Humanities Prize and Cinema for Peace Awards as Most Valuable Documentary of the Year. The film was an Official Selection at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and won top prize at the 32nd Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, Documentaries Without Borders Film Festival, and 51st Houston WorldFest Film Festival, as well as the Overseas Press Club’s Peter Jennings Award.
In creating CRIES FROM SYRIA, Afineevsky spent months on the ground in Syria, using his cameras to craft a comprehensive account of the brutal five-year civil war. He edited hundreds of hours of footage from Syrian activists and citizen journalists, as well as testimony from child protestors, leaders of the revolution, human-rights defenders, ordinary citizens, and high-ranking army generals who defected to tell this important story.
His film WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM was an official Selection of the Venice and Telluride International Film Festivals and won the People’s Choice Award for the Best Documentary from the Toronto International Film Festival. The film, which details the 2013 student uprising that transformed into a violent revolution, also looked at the shady negotiations between Ukraine’s corrupt former president, Viktor Yanukovich, and Russian president Vladimir Putin that kept Ukraine from joining the European Union. Afineevsky’s tenacity in his storytelling ultimately attracted the unwanted attention of Russian intelligence agents, who continue to track him and his work. WINTER ON FIRE earned an Oscar and Emmy nomination in 2016 and received the Television Academy Honors Award.
Outside of social documentaries, Afineevsky has worked in a wide spectrum of genres. He has produced more than 30 musicals in Israel between 1994 - 2000, including BAT (DIE FLEDERMAUS), GYPSY BARON, VIENNESE BLOOD, NIGHT IN VENICE, SILVA PRINCESS OF CHARDAS, MOZART KONZERTE (with the Prague National Opera Orchestra. He also directed the Israeli TV series DAYS OF LOVE in 1999.
His work in feature films include producing a modern-day adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s classic novel CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (2002), which stars Crispin Glover, Vanessa Redgrave, John Hurt, and Margot Kidder; OPEN HEART (2002); AND DEATH GAME (2001), starring Billy Drago and Joe Lara. All three films went on to win accolades from the Houston WorldFest. He wrote and directed the 2009 family comedy starring Lainie Kazan, OY VEY! MY SON IS GAY!! (2009), which he won more than 23 international film awards; and also wrote and directed DIVORCE: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE KIDS’ EYES (2014), which provides an educational look at the different situations children of divorced parent’s experience.
Afineevsky resides in Los Angeles and is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and The Directors Guild of America.