In 2015 - Netflix released a documentary called Winter On Fire - on how a civil rights movement erupts in the Ukraine after a peaceful student protest quickly morphs into a violent revolution.

Winter on Fire was criticised saying:

Winter on Fire is an "accessible film, with greater TV appeal, but it’s also more limited by its insistence on shoehorning everything into one perspective, albeit a perspective shared by many"

Another commentator wrote:

What is so striking about Winter on Fire is not how it whitewashes the story of Maidan but the fact that Afineevsky, the director, brazenly admits it. An interview with US-funded Radio Free Europe brought up the claim that the film “glossed over” Right Sector, a neo-Nazi organization that played a prominent role in Maidan and was later accused of torture, among other crimes, by Amnesty International. “You know what? Right Sector, they actually fought for everything like everybody else. They were a part of these people,” scoffed Afineevsky. What Afineevsky meant by this answer is unclear, much like the statement that he is “a filmmaker not a journalist,” which Radio Free Europe said he gave in response to charges that he oversimplified the narrative.

In 2016 - Oliver Stone relased a documentary called Ukraine on Fire the 2014's Maidan Massacre and the overthrow of Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

When this aired on REN TV - the network had to step up security due to threats.

This had a delayed release in the English speaking world due to Oliver Stone struggling to get a Western Distributor.

My question is: What are the reasons Oliver Stone's documentary 'Ukraine On Fire' had trouble getting a US distributor?

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    Perhaps the reason might be as simple as it not being seen as a profitable film? – jamesqf Jan 14 '18 at 3:17
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    Also, the original source said "Rumours say Stone is struggling to find a western distributor". The question presents this as incontrovertible fact instead. – user4012 Jan 14 '18 at 18:13
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    How can a question about a Hollywood director looking for a distributor be answered at Politics.Stack Exchange? Does any "government, policy or a political process" affect his search for a distributor? – bytebuster Jan 14 '18 at 23:17
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    @bytebuster, Re "Hollywood": ...you might notice is a bit of a kingmaker nowadays. Two American Presidents hosted prime-time TV shows, which made them more electable. Censorship of political discourse is one of the most central of governmental problems. Whether a government directly appoints it's own censor, or a government benefits from and provides impunity to the de facto censorship imposed by a government approved media monopoly, makes little difference, (except that there's probably less public oversight for the monopoly's censors). – agc Jan 15 '18 at 2:58
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    Despite the 3 close votes, I think there's an interesting question in here on whether politics plays a role in movie distribution. It might take an insider to know, but I think the gist of the question is fair. It's also 100% possible that this was never a marketable film and it was entirely a profits decision, not a political decision at all, but asking if there was political muscle blocking the film is a fair question. I'll add to this, that Oliver Stone's accuracy has been questioned more than once. He's not a pillar of truth himself. – userLTK Jan 15 '18 at 7:18

The distributor they ended up getting in the West (two years after getting a Russian distributor) was CinemaLibreStudio.com (a small independent distributor).

James DiEugenio writes:

Ukraine on Fire, a new documentary about the Ukraine crisis, might change how people in the West perceive the conflict, but it’s unlikely to get much distribution since it contests the prevailing narrative, writes James DiEugenio.


Stone’s interviews with Putin and Yanukovych are also quite newsworthy, presenting a side of these demonized foreign leaders that has been absent in the propagandistic Western media.

  • This answer does not explain why running against the prevailing narrative would make distribution hard. – Frank Mar 29 '20 at 7:30
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    @Frank It's the same as a "documentary" that tries to prove Earth is flat. Distributing nonsense is hard. – Sergey Podobry Mar 29 '20 at 17:06

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