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Marc Almond, in a show of support for LGBT Rights in Russia, to Participate in the IV Side by Side LGBT Film Festival.

On the 21 October, 2011 the fourth Side by Side LGBT Film Festival opens in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Among the highlights this year is the participation of British performer Marc Almond in a new event format: “An Evening with a Star”, whereby the  Saint Petersburg audience will have the opportunity to join the singer in conversation after the screening of his chosen favourite film Victim (1961, UK, Basil Dearden) starring the legendary Dirk Bogarde.

The choice, a classic film from British cinematography Dearden’s masterpiece is considered one of the most critical indictments against the homophobic laws during 1960’s Britain and as noted by Marc Almond its choosing is particularly apt: “Homosexuality still seems in Russia like it was in the 50's and 60's in Britain. Tolerated to a point but frowned upon. I meet many gay people who keep it quiet as they're afraid to be outcast from their work.” Although Britain has come a long way, commenting on the contemporary situation, problems are still acute: “At present there has begun something of a gay backlash with a rise in homophobia and violence despite the fact we have a strong gay presence on TV and in music.” Solutions do not come easy: “It’s not about parades or marches it’s about changing things little by little and step by step from the inside.” Almond continues: “…Russia is a vast country with a generation still stuck in the Soviet era. It’s a mammoth task to change it overnight but good signs are there and I believe things are slowly changing.”

Leading the discussion with the guest singer is Anton Mazurov, Program Director of 2morrow/Zavtra Film Festival (Moscow).

Other highlights include South African Queer visual activist Zanele Muholi who will open her photo exhibition Indawo Yami / My Place and take part in a discussion after the screening of her film Difficult Love. Festival goers will also have the chance to meet awarding winning director Marcus Lindeen (Regretters, Sweden, 2010), Benjamin Cantu (Harvest, Germany, 2011), Yair Kedar (Gay Days, Israel, 2009) and many more. The festival opens with the premiere of Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy (France, 2011).

A major theme for the 2011 festival are the forgotten events and untold stories of the LGBT history in Russia. Discoveries – LGBT film festivals in Saint Petersburg and in Tomsk during the 1990s – throw light on achievements of the past, giving greater understanding of the movement and grounding LGBT voices as a real and integral part of Russian history. In discussion join activists from Moscow and Tomsk who played a key role in shaping the story of LGBT. There will be the chance watch films on historical figures such as Anne Lister and Annemarie Schwarzenbach and view the work of pioneer queer filmmaker Barbara Hammer.

The jury of the IV Side by Side will evaluate 25 films for the category of best feature, documentary and short. The Bobik Prize launched in 2010 is already a sort after award by the filmmakers from around the world.  

General Partners Film Festival:
Open Society Foundation
British Consulate General, St. Petersburg
Consulate General of Sweden, St. Petersburg
Consulate General of Norway, Saint Petersburg
Goethe Institute, Saint Petersburg
Hotel Angleterre
Arthouse.ru - Cinema Without Borders
Portal Geometria.ru
Portal Be-In
Newspaper ThePrintedBlog


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