“The Killing of a Journalist” will have World Premiere at 2022 Hot Docs Festival

Published: 01 April 2022

Jan and Martina


Documentary Shows How the Murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová Changed Slovakia Forever.

A documentary by Final Cut for Real and OCCRP, “The Killing of a Journalist,” will have its world premiere on May 1 in the 2022 Hot Docs Film Festival’s international competition.

Directed by OCCRP’s Matt Sarnecki, “The Killing of a Journalist” tells the story of the 2018 murders of OCCRP’s Slovak colleague Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová. Investigative journalists used leaked police files from the murder investigation to uncover vast corruption at the highest levels of Slovak society.

“I made this film to honor the legacy of Ján and Martina, two young people who were working to build a better, more just Slovakia,” said Sarnecki. “I also made it because the story has a twist that tells a deeper, more shocking account of grand corruption — a never-before-seen blueprint of how it works — and is a testament to the power of investigative journalism.”

The film was produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen from Final Cut for Real, a five-time Oscar®-nominated and four-time Sundance-winning production company based in Denmark.

“At Final Cut for Real we are extremely happy to be working with Matt Sarnecki and OCCRP on this important story,” said Byrge Sørensen. “Investigative journalism is a cornerstone of any healthy democracy, and we hope this film will reach audiences around the globe.”

“Ján worked at the nexus of politics and organized crime — the most dangerous beat in journalism,” said OCCRP co-founders Drew Sullivan and Paul Radu, the film’s executive producers. “Matt has made a profound film that shows the tragic loss of a gifted journalist, but also how that loss blossomed into a citizen-led revolution that felled a crooked government. We are grateful for Final Cut for Real’s partnership and looking forward to premiering our first joint project at the Hot Docs Festival. This film is a testament to our credo: Killing a journalist will not kill the story.”


About the Hot Docs Festival

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary film festival, conference, and market, presenting over 200 cutting edge films from around the world. The 2022 Hot Docs Festival, which runs from April 28 to May 8, will screen films in cinemas across Toronto, as well as online to viewers across Canada. Get festival tickets here.

“The Killing of a Journalist” will be screened:

  • May 1 at 5 p.m. at Varsity 8 with Q&A afterwards with Director Matt Sarnecki, and Investigative Journalist Pavla Holcová
  • May 5 at 10:30 a.m. at Isabel Bader Theatre

For more information, contact: Lauren Jackman, Communications Officer, lauren@occrp.org.


The film is produced by Final Cut for Real (Denmark) and OCCRP (United States). It is co-produced by Frame Films (Czech Republic), and GotFat Productions (Denmark). The co-producers are: Jitka Kotrlová, Zuzana Kučerová and Thor Hampus Bank. The editor is Janus Billeskov Jansen. The associate producer is Júlia Love Babuscak. Sound design is by Marek Poledna og Jan Čeněk and the music is by Kristian Eidnes Andersen and color grading is done by Jian Zhi Zhang and supervised by Anders V. Christensen. The post producers are Francesc Sitges-Sardá and Maria Kristensen.

The film is co-produced by WDR (Jutta Krug and Christiane Hinz), and made in association with DR (Anders Bruus), SVT (Axel Arnö and Charlotte Gry Madsen) and NRK (Fredrik Færden). The film is supported by the Czech Film Fund and the West Danish Film Fund.

International Sales: contact Cinephil, Olivier Tournaud, olivier@cinephil.com

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is a global nonprofit journalism outlet that is a pioneer of collaborative, cross-border investigative reporting. It publishes more than 120 investigative stories each year along with media partners around the world. OCCRP has won more than 100 international prizes for its work.

Final Cut for Real is a five-time Oscar®-nominated and four-time Sundance-winning production company based in Denmark, dedicated to producing high-end, creative documentaries and fiction films for the international market. Founded in 2009 by producers Signe Byrge Sørensen and Anne Köhncke, the company today consists of three additional producers, Monica Hellström, Heidi Elise Christensen and Maria Kristensen, as well as post producer Francesc Sitges-Sardá. Recent films include Flee, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, A House Made of Splinters, directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont, Our Memory Belongs to Us, directed by Rami Farah and co-directed by Signe Byrge Sørensen and the co-production Outside, directed by Olha Zhurba.

Frame Films is a production company focusing on creative audiovisual projects with artistic elements. The company has produced the documentaries Wolves at the Borders (premiered at Visions du Réel, 2020) and Central Bus Station (premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest, 2018); the feature fiction film Snowing! (premiered at Days of European Film, 2019); and the short animated film Ant Hill (Animafest Zagreb, BAFICI, 2020). Producers Jitka Kotrlová, Zuzana Kučerová, and Hana Blaha Šilarová work as a collective.

GotFat Productions is a company of producers, directors, DoPs and editors dedicated to producing high-end documentaries and fiction with an international outlook. GotFat was established in Aarhus, Denmark, in 2012 by producers Emil Johnsen and Thor Hampus Bank. Today they are joined by more than 10 colleagues covering all phases of film production.