Deckert Distribution has announced that it has picked up world rights for feature-length documentary “Outside,” directed by the Ukrainian director Olha Zhurba. The film will premiere in the main competition section of the Copenhagen Intl. Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX), which runs March 23-April 3.

Zhurba’s short fiction film “Dad’s Sneakers” had its premiere in the short competition at Locarno Film Festival last year, and later won the Ukrainian Short and FIPRESCI awards at Odessa Film Festival, and the National Film Critics Award, Kinokolo. “Outside” is Zhurba’s first feature-length documentary.

The film tells the story of the turbulent youth of Roma, a 13-year-old street boy neglected by his family and the state, who becomes a poster boy for the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014. His story traverses the years he spent on the streets of Kyiv and after his release from the orphanage, left to face the outside world with nothing. As Roma sets out to build an adult life, it seems that his future has already been decided. Through a series of phone calls with the film’s director he reflects on the question: Can you ever escape your childhood?

Liselot Verbrugge, CEO of Deckert Distribution, commented: “When we came across this project several years ago, when it was still pitched as ‘Roma,’ we were immediately impressed by Olha’s style and approach. Her filming makes you feel like you are looking into the boy’s soul, and we formed a strong connection to the film and team immediately.

“But in the last year, preparing the release of the film together, we never would have imagined we would be having the premiere under these terrible circumstances. We are very proud to be working with this brave Ukrainian team of director and producers, and feel it is very important to bring this powerful film to an international audience.”

“Outside” is produced by Darya Bassel and Viktoria Khomenko (Moon Man, Ukraine), and co-produced by Anne Köhncke and Monica Hellström (Final Cut for Real, Denmark), and Willem Baptist and Nienke Korthof (Tangerine Tree, The Netherlands).

Bassel commented: “Olha and the cinematographer Volodymyr Usyk had been working on this film since 2014, when we met them at Docudays UA industry in 2019. We were struck by the material, and it was the final push for me and my colleague Vika to start our production company. We were very much looking forward being present at the premiere of this film, it is very special to all of us.

“2014, when Olha met Roma on Maidan Square, marked the start of a new era for Ukraine, and a lot of reforms were pushed by the civil society. The last eight years were complicated for our country, but also full of hope and strong faith in what we are doing. Right now, we are going through a terrible war, and I believe it is time for the world to hear more Ukrainian voices.

“I am honored that together with our partners, our co-producers and sales agent Deckert Distribution – who believed in our project long before Ukraine got into the news – we are bringing this beautiful film to the international audience.”

Co-producer Anne Köhncke commented: “Director Olha Zhurba and the main character reminds us that when a society is under pressure, it is the children and youth that no one speaks up for, that no one sees, that pays the highest price. Roma will never leave your heart after you have seen Olha’a film.”

Deckert Distribution is the sales agent of several award-winning films such as “Brotherhood” by Francesco Montagner, “Les Enfants Terribles” by Ahmed Necdet Cupur, and “Angels of Sinjar” by the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Hanna Polak.

“Outside” will premiere at CPH:DOX on March 25.