The documentary is being produced by Vice Studios in association with Vice World News and Endeavor Content.
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the actor-director’s arrival at the capital city, Kyiv, amidst the ongoing conflict, which escalated after Russia launched a three-pronged invasion on Ukraine on Thursday. Photos of Penn attending a press briefing by the Ukrainian government that same day are doing the rounds in the media.
In November 2021, the actor had visited the country to do some research for the film and at the time, he was documented being escorted around by the Ukrainian military.
Penn has now visited the President’s office and met Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, as well as local journalists and members of the Ukrainian military.
The Ukrainian government expressed its gratitude to the actor-philanthropist, and said in a statement, “The director (Penn) 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. 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.”
“Sean Penn is demonstrating bravery that many others have been lacking, in particular some Western politicians. The more people like that – true friends of Ukraine, who support the fight for freedom – the quicker we can stop this heinous invasion by Russia,” the statement added.
This is not the first time that the 61-year-old actor has put himself in danger to document important humanitarian concerns. In 2020, Penn directed the Discovery Plus documentary Citizen Penn, which dealt with the establishment of his non-profit Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquakes.
In 2016, Penn published an exclusive interview with the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in Rolling Stone. Penn visited the Sinaloa cartel leader in a remote jungle in secret. While the story was not authorised by either US or Mexican authorities, it helped the latter in nabbing Guzman.