Pussy Riot documentary wins award
A documentary "Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer", directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, has won a special award at the US Sundance Film Festival.
The film chronicles the act of protest by the Russian feminist punk-rock band, their outspoken defiance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, their trial and imprisonment.
Band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison over a punk prayer at Moscow's largest cathedral in February 2012 that urged "Mother Mary" to "drive Putin out".
A court ruled that the performance hurt the feelings of Orthodox believers, but the group said the "punk prayer" was a political act and was a response to Church support for Putin ahead of his presidential election victory.
"British filmmaker Mike Lerner and Russian Maxim Pozdorovkin collaborate to chronicle the way one small act of protest captured a nation's attention and grew to become an international story of human-rights abuse," the film festival website said.
"Putting a personal face on a rebellion, they track three bewildered women who are imprisoned by jail bars and cameras but prepared to defend their actions no matter what it may cost them. This film tells their epic story."
Following an appeal, Samutsevich's sentence was suspended because a security guard had held her before she could participate in the punk prayer while the sentences of the other two women were upheld.
Sundance Film Festival is an influential showcase of new work by American and international independent filmmakers.