1 of 5 | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with Sean Penn during a visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 8, 2022. It was announced Monday that Penn's documentary on Ukraine will debut at the Berlin Film Festival. File Photo via Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Sean Penn is set to introduce the documentary Superpower at the Berlin Film Festival, after traveling to Ukraine last year to shoot the film with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the war.
While in Ukraine, Penn gave Zelensky one of his Oscar statuettes.
"It's just a symbolic silly thing, but if I know it is here then I'll feel better and strong enough for the fights," Penn told Zelensky, asking the president to return the Oscar after he wins the war.
Penn traveled to Ukraine last November to shoot the video for Vice Studios but ended up having to leave due to worsening conditions on the ground there.
Vice Studios produced the documentary with Vice World News and Endeavor Content. Aaron Kaufman is credited as co-director.
"The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia's invasion of our country," read a statement from the office of the president that was released last year. "Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty."
The documentary includes footage of Penn in Kyiv when fighting began as well as a meeting with Zelensky. The president awarded Penn the Order of Merit "for his sincere support and significant contribution to the popularization of Ukraine in the world."
Superpower will be screened as part of a series of events, including the showing of nine Ukrainian films, in support of Ukrainian filmmakers. Penn's doc will screen on the anniversary of the day that Russia invaded Ukraine as part of the Berlinale Special Gala series.
In the announcement, Carlo Chatrian, the artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival said: "This is a documentary film done under very difficult circumstances, but it is also a film that tells the role of art and artists in difficult times."