Steve Hoover, director of the new documentary “Almost Holy,” describes his film as a “character profile” of larger-than-life Ukrainian pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko. A review by The New York Times describes Mokhnenko as a “tough-love priest” who “snatches homeless children off the streets—many are addicts—and takes them to Pilgrim Republic, the rehabilitation center he founded in the city of Mariupol.”

While Mokhnenko is the focus of the documentary, Hoover explains in an interview with Truthdig contributor Josh Scheer how he uses this personal lens to explore the larger political tensions in Ukraine. Scheer asks him about the making of the film, and Hoover describes the intensity of the process—at one point during filming, for instance, his crew was attacked by a Russian mob.

“It would be easy to say, ‘Well, he’s a pastor, he does good things to help kids,’ but I found that it was far more nuanced and complicated than that,” says Hoover. “I know the answer is never that simple.”

Listen to the whole interview below:

—Posted by Emma Niles

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