Top Spot of the Week: Samuel Bayer Directs Short Chronicling CORE's Ukraine Relief Effort


Robert Goldrich
Friday, Jul. 15, 2022


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Directed and created by Samuel Bayer, this short documents the Ukraine relief effort being made by CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), the nonprofit co-founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee. The film chronicles CORE’s emergency push to support Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). 

Beginning with Ukrainian demonstrations before the Russian invasion, the black-and-white film--titled 2 Minutes to Midnight--takes viewers through a warehouse where CORE staff--many of whom are Polish, Ukrainian and Romanian--have assembled lifesaving supplies such as food, blankets and medicine, which have been sent to Ukraine across Poland’s borders. We see shelters housing refugee families who have fled their homes. We see Penn and Lee meeting with government officials in Poland to broker long term partnerships to support border towns receiving refugees.  

Since the onset of the war, CORE has activated a nimble response inclusive of a cash distribution program that distributes funds directly to refugees and IDPs. Through partnerships with local governments in Poland and Romania, CORE is helping provide resources and shelter to incoming refugees. Looking to the months ahead, the organization is planning for winter months where heat will be a precious commodity. 

Bayer--who is repped by Supply & Demand in the advertising/branded space--has chronicled CORE’s efforts before, including its response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a PSA titled “Guardians” which broke in 2020.


Production Samuel Bayer, director/DP/producer; Sean Penn, Ann Lee, Perrine Mann, Mischa Meyer, Stefan Sonnenfeld, Leo Scott, Tim Case, producers. Creative Curt Detweiler, writer. Editorial Fernanda Cardoso, editor. Music Antonio Pinto, composer. Voiceover Leila George.

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