Berlin International Film Festival
Sean Penn has repeated his offer to have one of his Oscars melted down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – saying his gift to the struggling leader was inspired by his “enduring shame towards the Motion Picture Academy”.
Penn debuted his documentary Superpower at the Berlin International Film Festival, in which he details Zelenskyy’s leadership and the courage of Ukrainians after the Russian invasion, telling the press on Saturday:
“The Oscar is there in his office, ready to be melted anytime he wants to melt him.
He called the gift of the statuette “a small symbolic gesture between two friends – inspired by my enduring shame towards the Motion Picture Academy leadership when they chose to feature Will Smith beating Chris Rock instead of cinema’s greatest icon.” and humanity living today. your loss.”
Penn presented one of his two Best Actor Oscars to Zelensky last year after the two became friends while filming the documentary.
The actor had previously vowed to “sniff out” his Oscar if the academy didn’t invite Zelensky to the 2022 Oscars, saying at the time: “The Oscars could do no better than give him the opportunity to talk to him all of us… As far as I know, a decision has been made not to do that.”
Penn and his co-director Aaron Kaufman began filming Superpower in early 2021, with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin still a distant threat.
The couple traveled to Ukraine in February 2022 and met President Zelensky for the first time the night before his country was invaded.
As explosions shook the city, Penn and Kaufman were front-row witnesses to what Kaufman described as a “David vs. Goliath” fight.
Penn revealed that he never attempted to contact Russian President Putin or include him in the film. The director didn’t apologize for making Superpower “a not unbiased movie,” stating:
“It was clear to us very early on that we were not going to let our film be a platform for transparent deception, and that was all Mr. Putin had to offer.
“We would have been better off talking to a wall.
“This is not an unbiased film because it is not an ambiguous war. Mr. Putin has already said far too much.”
Penn conducted the first of several interviews with Zelensky on the night of the invasion, having first met him the night before. He remembered:
“Our first meeting was on February 23, 2022, then we went back to the hotel and that night the missiles came in and what had been a head of state wearing a suit, the next time we saw him he was in camouflage suits and his country was at war. He says in the film that he was born for this moment. I had heard about the Americans’ offer to him to evacuate and it was clear to us in moments that he was not going anywhere.”
Adding to his admiration for Zelensky, Penn said:
“Apart from meeting my children at birth, the highlight was meeting and feeling a big human heart full of courage, this day with this man.
“There is no threat that scares Zelenskyy or the Ukrainians.”
Penn and Kaufman both said they hoped their film would help garner more American support for Ukraine, with Penn urging the delivery of long-range precision missiles to a country that he said has “all dreams and aspirations.” that we all had to share, and all the movies share, about the better of us.”