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Sean Penn’s Ukraine documentary is available to stream for free right now on YouTube

Published Jul 1st, 2024 8:15PM EDT
Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky and Sean Penn
Image: Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Sean Penn’s new two-hour documentary Superpower, about the war in Ukraine and, in particular, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, is the result of two years’ worth of interviews between the two men. The resulting film, which was originally meant to focus on Ukraine’s improbable comedian-turned-president before the war broke out, is now available to stream for free on YouTube, where it will remain for one year — in addition to being available on Paramount+.

When Penn and the documentary crew began filming Superpower, it was mostly Americans who keenly followed politics who were aware of Zelensky — and that was because of his rebuffing of President Trump’s attempts to investigate President Biden’s son. Penn traveled to Ukraine to learn more about Zelensky, and the actor was actually filming in the capital city of Kyiv on February 24, 2022, when Russia launched its invasion.

“We set out to tell a lighthearted tale of this comedic actor who had been elected President of Ukraine and instead became witness to a historic leader and his country’s war for freedom,” Penn said in a statement released about the finished project. “When you step into a country of such incredible unity, you realize what we (in the United States) have all been missing.”

Superpower is a film in which Penn talks with veterans from the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, as well as a widow who lost her husband during the Maidan upheaval, plus everyone from musicians to political figures. Penn spends time at the front lines, interviewing soldiers, including female snipers, and visits homes and families that have been destroyed by the war.

Superpower,” Paramount+ explains, “presents Zelensky as a leader stepping up to embrace his country’s destiny. Overnight, he became the most significant wartime leader of the modern era. This one-time actor turned president is leading his country in conflict with a nuclear superpower, becoming a crucible of history. Amid moments of levity, inspiration and on-the-ground storytelling, the film shows that Ukraine’s superpower lies in the strength of its leader, its people and ultimately its heart.”

The documentary is available to watch in full, for free, below.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.