A Sniper's War

The story of a sniper fighting on the side of the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine

A Sniper's War Described as a "stealth invasion" of Ukraine, the proxy-war being waged in Donbass is a contentious conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the West. In the midst of swirling propaganda and controversy this brave doc follows Deki, a pro-Russian sniper tasked with defending his separatist comrades on the frontline of the conflict. In the midst of escalating international tensions, the film exposes an unseen side to this secretive war.

A Sniper's War (2018) on IMDb
Reviews and More

“A Sniper’s War is a powerful and disturbing doc from a perspective we don’t often see” –
The Hollywood Reporter

“The result is a stunning film that will knock you back in your seat and show you a wider world” –
Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

A “stunning portrait of a Serb who volunteered his lethal skills for the problematic Donetsk Republic” -
Louis Proyect, Counter Punch

LaurelArizona Film Festival - Best Foreign Documentary
LaurelRiversight Film Festival - Best Documentary, Best Editing, Best Cinematography
LaurelLower East Side Film Festival - Best of Fest Prix D’or
LaurelWe Won Together (Crimea) - Nickolay Mikosha Prize, Press Prize
Laurel18th Beverly Hills Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelBig Sky Documentary Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelMoscow International Documentary Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelSanta Barbara International Film Festival - Official Selection

The Producers

Olya Schechter - Director

Olya Schechter, a New York-based filmmaker, studied politics and environmental studies at New York University. After an internship at Newsweek she entered a documentary program at New York Film Academy. While studying she became fascinated with the Russian - United States relationships and the Ukrainian crisis. As a result she spent three years working on her first feature documentary on the front lines in Eastern Ukraine.

Making The Film

I was compelled to make A Sniper’s War after I met Deki during my trip to the Donetsk People’s Republic. I was immediately intrigued by his story and curious why he left Serbia to join the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. At first he was convinced that I was an American spy and it took a long time to gain his trust in order to get the access to tell the story. For over two years I traveled back and forth between New York and the Donetsk People’s Republic. Living at the military base with the rebels I eventually gained access to the front lines. I worked with one cinematographer or shot by myself. My goal was to blend in with the soldiers in order to capture the reality as is. Making this film has been a challenging exercise in objectivity. I realized that the only way to make this film politically neutral is to tell the story from Deki’s point of view. The more time I spent with him the more I wondered: is he a soldier or a killer? I tried to capture that duality in every scene. Eventually, I began to see him as a product of historic events that have shaped his world views - very different from mine.

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