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Double Victory for Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in Siberia, Russia.

Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival launched its 2011 regional tour in Siberia holding festivals in Novosibirsk, 19 – 22 May and Kemerovo, 20 – 22 May, 2011. Both the festivals ran their entirety and did not encounter any measures by the government to stop the events. For the mining city of Kemerovo this was especially a major achievement as in April, 2010 when the  first attempt to hold such a festival was made the local authorities effectively banned the event following pressure and threats on the venues who had agreed to hold the festival.

The Siberian public had the opportunity to see a range of contemporary documentaries, features, animation and short films relating to LGBT.  Following the screening of Prayers for Bobby the audience had the chance to discuss the issue of coming out and the problems related to family, relatives and friends accepting LGBT people.

A highlight of the film festival was the attendance of the Danish documentary film maker Iben Haar Andersen. In the after film discussion she talked at length about the Danish experience and how public opinion changed towards homosexuality in her country. She commented: “I am very happy that my film: Hello, My Name is Lesbian”, which has already been shown in 26 countries around the world is being shown in Russia. I am struck by the openness and lively interest in the film from both the Novosibirsk and Kemerovon audience. I hope to visit Russia again along with Minna Grooss, co-director of the film.”

Commenting on the success of the regional festival tour, director Gulya Sultanova: “We have defended our right to hold open and free cultural LGBT events. We have been able to screen LGBT films to the public and discuss complex social issues. We will continue working in this manner in order to bring around change and that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are not to be feared or despised, but ordinary people who are in need of acceptance and equal rights.

Photo Reportage of the opening of the film festival in Novosibirsk

Photo Reportage of opening of the film festival in Kemerovo

Photo Reportage of the closing ceremony of the film festival in Kemerovo


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