Pussy Riot documentary debuts at Sundance

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Pussy Riot gained worldwide fame and notoriety when they performed a forty-second protest prayer inside Russia's main cathedral.

Now the story of the three young women who took on powerful institutions when they protested against President Vladimir Putin's close ties with the church is being told in a documentary.

'Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer' has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to a sold-out Park City crowd, and it's an important project according to co-director Maxim Pozdorovkin.

SOUNDBITE: Maxim Pozdorovkin, co-director, saying (English):

"One of the things we felt is that, whereas in the West it was understood to be mostly a political human rights story and in Russia it was understood almost exclusively as a religious hooliganism, religious hatred story. In reality the story is so much bigger and so much richer and so epic, and I don't use that word lightly."

The band's performance led to their arrest on charges of religious hatred and culminated in a trial that has reverberated around the world.

The court found all three women guilty and sentenced them to two years in prison, although one later had her punishment converted to a suspended sentence.

The documentary follows band members and their families as they struggle through Russia's legal system.

US viewers will likely see the film on HBO, which purchased the TV rights during the festival.