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Jury for the V Side by Side LGBT Film Festival 2012

Lidia Maslova is a film critic at the publishing house Kommersant.  She began her career in 1996 at the newspaper Screen and Stage.  Since then, her work, which covers film and various other topics has appeared in various publications: Kinovedcheskie zapiski (Film studies notes), Iskusstvo kino (Art Film), Seance, Empire, Afisha (Playbill), Bolshoi Gorod (Big City), Autopilot, Vinomania (Wine Mania), Zhara [Heat], PROsport, Russian Life, Playboy  and others.

Statement: I really dont participate in any kind of jury. Im usually not asked to and besides its actually very difficult to watch a lot of high quality films, then discuss them and try to convince other people to agree with you. In this case however it seemed intuitively right to take part in this festival given not only its theme but the fact that is in Saint Petersburg which used to be considered by many not only to be Russias cultural capital, but also its gay capital. For some reason they are now trying to turn it into a capital of homophobia, which like any phobia is upsetting."


Marina Potapova is a screenwriter, director, journalist, teacher and participant of various film and video projects. In 2005 Marinas script for the prize winning film Dust received various awards including the film critics jury diploma at XXVII Moscow International Film Festival. Most recently success was repeated again with the new film Circus Show attracting wide recognition from within Russia and abroad.

Statement: Considering the circumstances that have unfolded in Saint Petersburg in connection with the law banning the propaganda of homosexuality and peodophilia I could not turn down the chance to participate in the festival as a jury member. I am afraid that if things keep going in this direction then there will not be any homosexuals left at all in this wonderful city. And that is rather dangerous. When the Chinese decided to get rid of all the sparrows during the Great Leap Forward in order to save the harvest, very soon after a famine took hold. There is a risk  that in Petersburg and across whole country, with all this chasing after good spirituality and a high birth rate something similar will happen here.

That is why I think it is really important to show young people that being a member of the LGBT community is not a terrible thing, that people are making films about it, that the awakening of a non-standard sexuality is not the end of the world. Even though I am not gay, I am getting a 5000 ruble bill ready so that I can say, Guys, dont be scared, step into our ranks. If not us, then who!


Mikhail Zheleznikov was born in Leningrad in 1972. He has made films for ARTE and YLE, Corona Films and Saint Petersburg Documentary Film Studio. Since 2011 he has been curating the new experimental short films competition program, In Silico, at the Message To Man film festival.

Statement: "If we lived in an ideal world, or at least in a more decent country, I would admit honestly that I am not a fan of thematic film festivals, just as Im not a fan of any festival created in the name of some political idea, because I am convinced that you should judge films solely based on their artistic merits. Unfortunately in our country however, and across the whole world, social censorship flourishes. It filters out films that the authorities find disagreeable or simply too bold and honest, disguising itself with sanctimonious speeches about virtue, morality and spirituality. Thats why independent, human rights and protest festivals are greatly needed and the more there will be of them, the greater diversity there will be, the more bolder and uncompromising, all the better. The Side by Side Festival fights against homophobia, bigotry, censorship, fascism, and intolerance and I am glad that I can play a useful role in it."


Olga Lipovskaya is a feminist, journalist, translator and the author of articles and essays on issues related to the equality between men and women.  For ten years she was the director of the St. Petersburg Center for Gender Issues, a womens organization.  She has translated several books on feminist and LGBT theory, both collaboratively and independently.

Statement: "I sincerely believe that, through film, it is possible to not only highlight the problems of various social groups, but also to force society to think about these problems and change their opinion. Side by Side is one of the most humanitarian and brave actions, organized by creative and ambitious people. I think of my participation in the festival as a responsibility and a necessity for myself and for society. Its a contribution to the development of mutual understanding between people and in the struggle for the rights of my friends, my acquaintances, and people I dont know -- the right to be who they are."


Melissa Lindgren: is the program director at Tempo Documentary festival and the festival director at Cinema Queer International Film Festival. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Film with specialisation in Curator for Film and Video from the University of Gothenburg and are active in Stockholm, Sweden.

Statement:It is important not to forget our history and what we for so long have been fighting for. Even though much is gained, the risk of a backlash is more and more evident all over the world. The political situation in Russia as in many other places endangers life of LGBT individuals everyday. Even in my country, we see tendencies towards a harsher society with right wing groups gaining more and more support. In this climate it is important to keep supporting each other and continue the fight over national and cultural borders.

Film is an essential weapon in this fight. For me as a curator, screening films that challenges existing norms, structures and prejudices is an important method on the way to change. I am honored to be in the jury at Side by Side festival who leads such an important fight for a more open and accepting society.

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