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The Second Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival Starts!

The 1919 film from the Weimar Republic Different from Others directed by Richard Oswald opens the second Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival on 23rd October. On the jury board this year is sociologist Igor Kon, art director of OPEN CINEMA film festival Tamara Larina, human rights activist Nina Tagankina, director of AHOI Culture Mahide Lein and  director of INOEKINO Sergey Baidak. Competition categories are Best Social Film, Best Enlightening Film, Best Film Representing Human Value and Audience Award. The jury will make their selection from over twenty films.

Igor Kon, Professor, Sociologist and Author of "Faces and Masks of same Sex Love" (Moscow):

From all my heart I welcome Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in Saint-Petersburg! This is an important cultural and social event. It shows us that people with unconventional gender identity or sexual orientation are not exotic sexual minorities who we should either feel sympathy for or on the other hand judge, but are an organic part of our society and world culture. Artistic, including cinematographic, reflection and perception of their problems gives us a better understanding of not only them but also of ourselves. I hope the festival will present good films that will be of interest to not only LGBT moviegoers but general public as well.  

Tamara Larina, Art Director of OPEN CINEMA, Executive Director of International Centre Art BEREG (Saint-Petersburg):

Specialized festivals which base their programmes around one or another thematic niche are more of a social significance than an artistic one. The doctrine of festivals existing under one roof, ideological or some other specific themes, cannot but influence the artistic quality of material presented. It is hard to avoid some deficit of artistry here, whether these are the films about the problems of ethnic minorities or about the feats of skate boarders – there is not enough space for art within one certain theme. In my opinion, Side by Side LGBT Film Festival is a social manifestation, signaling the interests of a certain part of society which does not have to prove its worthiness to the audience but among official structures. I hope that the festival will develop from its inescapable struggle for human rights to a phase of calm dialogue with the audience through the art and high quality cinema.

Nina Tagankina, Lawyer, Human Rights Advocate, Executive Director of Moscow-Helsinki Group (Moscow):

This is my first film festival where I am participating as an expert. What is more it is an LGBT film festival – a new social and cultural phenomenon in Russia, which for me as an active citizen of my country I am very happy about. Everyone is different in terms of their appearance and internal make up. This however should not be a problem for self realization or serve as a reason for discrimination, especially on the grounds of sexual orientation (still widespread and in Russia even to a greater extent). I consider this film festival to be an informative educational event which draws the attention of the public and the authorities to the problem of homophobia recognizing it as a part of xenophobia and its dangers for the whole society.

Mahide Lein, Director of AHOI Culture (Berlin):

LGBT people are occupying important positions in big business and politics. We are present everywhere, hiding, happy and double standard. Life is too short for all that. To come out is a BIG chance - empowerment, self-respect, healthier and happiness for everyone! Relax! Come Out!
Sergey Baidak, Director of INOEKINO (Saint-Petersburg):

INOEKINO welcomes Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival which through high quality and intelligent cinema strives to increase tolerance, individuality, self expression and freedom in Russian society. LGBT cinema undoubtedly exists: the portrayal of characters, subjects and themes as well as an aesthetic form. It is the viewer however who decides to which aesthetic form a certain films belongs to. Ambiguity of a piece of art depends on the ability to see. Cinema is always a mirror that is looked at by the  viewer.


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