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Third Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival Accepting Submissions from 11th January – 30th June, 2010

The third annual Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival, scheduled for the autumn between the 15 – 22 October, 2010, is currently accepting film and video submissions. The festival is looking for work of all genres, lengths and formats, including dramatic, documentary and experimental works, by, about and of interest to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

This year the festival would like to focus on the experience of LGBT people from former Soviet satellites, as well as CIS and Eastern European Countries. Submissions from these regions are strongly encouraged. Short animation films are additionally being sought for the 2010 October film programme in Saint Petersburg.

Side by Side is Russia’s first annual LGBT film festival. New to the cultural calendar the festival is now in its third year and it has faced an uphill struggle against city authorities. In 2008, the first Side by Side film festival was disrupted in a major way due to closure of venues by city authorities on the eve of the event. Organizers were forced to conduct festival proceedings at a secret undisclosed location. In spite of the atmosphere of coercion and threat Side by Side has persevered and in 2009 the second attempt to hold the film was made. The festival met with much greater success. Running from 23rd October to 31st October, 2009, 22 films were screened along with 10 panel discussions in 8 different locales across the city. The jury, comprising of leading experts in their field, included Professor Dr 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 were Best Social Film, Best Enlightening Film, Best Film Representing Human Value and Audience Award. The festival garnered the support of several local businesses including Bukvoed (a large bookchain store) and Ladybird (a women’s taxi company) as well as international cultural organization including the Goethe Institute, Danish Institute and foreign consulates: British, American and Sweden included. In the region of 2,000 people attended this years festival.
“We aim to be one of the most comprehensive forums of international LGBT film/video in Russia as well as serve as an important exhibition platform for independent film/video makers,” said festival organizer Manny de Guerre. “We aim to keep building on our successes deepening and expanding the quality of films we present, the caliber of our guests and size of our audiences. At the same time Side by Side remains committed to human rights advocacy, the propagation of a tolerant society where sexual minority groups and individual freedom and choice are both respected and protected.”

An official submission form and detailed guidelines are available at or by contacting the Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival, Westpost PL 109, Box: 1243, Lappeenranta, 53101, Finland, by phone at +7.812.313.9341,+7.964.390.8543 by fax at +7.812.313.934, or by e-mail submission [at]
If you are interested in keeping updated on events, joining our mailing list, leaving your opinion or donating and helping to change LGBT history in Russia visit the official site at


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