Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Side by Side Film Festival

Some of us tend to take for granted the rights we now enjoy, like for example being able to go to festivals and watch the latest LGBT films screened in many festivals around the globe. But today I was reminded that not every country allows this type of cinema festival to happen.

This fest was scheduled to take place in St Petersburg, Russia from October 2 to 5 and it did, but had to screen the movies in secret locations because Government and Media resistance. This is the very first LGBT festival to be organized in Russia and they really had a hard time to screen movies that were acclaimed in fests like Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Tribeca and even the Oscar’s, none a specific LGBT festival or award event.

I strongly suggest to many that read this blog to read this appalling article about this festival to perhaps remember and/or understand how lucky some of us are, while others still are not allowed to public gatherings to watch movies of LGBT interest.

Situations like the one described in the article makes me think about the importance of Internet that allows people from many countries to have access to stories told in films that could give hope for many of them that eventually things could change in their own countries.

So what movies were they able to watch at secret locations? Oscar winner doc Freeheld, acclaimed Celine Sciamma’s Water Lilies, multiple award winner Lucia Puenzo’s XXY, and John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch among a few others.

I really commend and applaud fest organizers Irina Sergeeva and Manny De Guerre for their positive actions and their courage to go against all odds. As Basil Tsiokos ends his article, I also hope that 2009 gives them and others better circumstances to organize the second LGBT film festival in St. Petersburg or any other Russian city.

I also suggest to check the fest site that’s here and read some of the available press coverage articles that tell about the struggle the organizers were and still are facing.

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