Fixers in wartime, RSF documentary about Ukraine’s “invisible reporters”

In the run-up to the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has filmed three fixers as they go about their work in Ukraine, because these unsung media heroes play a vital role in helping journalists to do their job and prevent this conflict from becoming a forgotten war.

“In this documentary, entitled ‘Fixers in wartime, the invisible reporters,’ we tell the story of individuals who, from one day to the next, started risking everything in order to help inform the outside world. Fixers are the invisible people who make this war visible. We wanted to follow them and interview them in order to spotlight the little-known work of these media heroes and heroines and the impact it has on their lives.

Robin Grassi
head of Studio RSF and the film’s co-director

Watch the teaser for the documentary ‘Fixers in wartime, the invisible reporters’

Foreign journalists rarely work alone in Ukraine. Behind the investigative reporting on war crimes, the shocking photos of atrocities, and the video footage of the devastation caused by two years of conflict, there are hundreds of Ukrainian fixers.

They work in the shadows, little known and yet essential. Without them, it would have been impossible for journalists from around the world to cover Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on 24 February 2022 and Vladimir Putin unleashed the deadliest conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

In recent months, RSF followed Andrii Kolesnyk, Oleksandra Aleksandrenko and Kyrylo Sirchenko as they “fixed” for Morgane Bona, a reporter for the French national daily Libération, James de Caupenne, a freelance documentary filmmaker, and Philippe Lobjois, a reporter for the French regional daily Ouest-France.

Whether in their daily routine in Kyiv or working close to the front, these fixers – who are all aged around 30 – are representatives of a little-known profession at the heart of the news media industry and a generation that risks its lives to shed a light on their country's darkest hours.

“Maybe one day it will be my turn to be a soldier,”  says Kolesnyk. “But in the meantime, my place is here, as a fixer.”

Acting as interpreters, drivers, guides, and intermediaries between the journalists and their contacts, fixers enable reporters to reach Ukraine’s most dangerous and isolated regions.

In RSF’s documentary, they talk not only about their experiences in the service of journalism but also about the physical dangers and psychological challenges they must face in order to make covering this war possible.

“They are journalists’ eyes and ears, almost a sixth sense... Their work facilitates access to sensitive areas and to untold stories. Their stories take us behind the scenes of war reporting, which usually remains hidden to readers and viewers.

Arnaud Froger
head of RSF’s investigation desk and the film’s co-director

The film will be premiered in Berlin on March 26, then in Brussels on March 27, in Paris on March 28 and in Rennes on March 29. Then, it will be officially released online on Franco-German public TV channel Arte as of 30 March. 


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