It seems that much of the world is burning anymore – especially in political systems across the world that call themselves “democratic”.

Academic turned documentary film-maker Rupert Russell is tackling this very subject in his first documentary feature film Freedom for the Wolf, on the state of freedom and democracy across the world. Russell's work has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, and Mashable. He has a Double-Starred First from Cambridge University and a PhD from Harvard University, where he was National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Russell's work can also be seen on the documentary streaming platform Yaddo. He is the son of British film director, Ken Russell.

Freedom for the Wolf’s official synopsis: “Democracy is in crisis. A new generation of elected leaders are dismantling freedom and democracy as we know it. Filmed over three years in five countries, Freedom for the Wolf is an epic investigation into this new regime. From the young students of Hong Kong, to a rapper in post-Arab Spring Tunisia and the viral comedians of Bollywood, we discover how people from every corner of the globe are fighting the same struggle. They are fighting against elected leaders who trample on human rights, minorities, and their political opponents.

Freedom for the Wolf shows how a new breed of politicians are manipulating the idea of freedom, subverting the democratic process, and using organs of the state meant to protect people – the police – into agents of political oppression. From the failure of the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong to the victory of Donald Trump in America, the film shows first-hand the awesome power of these “illiberal democrats” across the world.

 This should not have surprised us. Since its invention, the very idea of freedom has had two, contradictory meanings: freedom to oppress versus the freedom to liberate. Indeed, as the legendary British philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote, “freedom for the wolves has often meant death for the sheep.” This film is the first chapter in the History of the rise of “illiberal democracies.” The question is, will it be the last?

Freedom for the Wolf is screening at The International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam this week. Catch the trailer below. The film itself premieres Nov. 15 at IDFA with a few other screenings scheduled.