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Jury for the VI Side by Side LGBT Film Festival 2013

Yelena Kostuchenko was born in 1987 in Yaroslavl. She studied journalism at Moscow State University. She is a special correspondent for Novaya Gazeta. In 2011, Yelena publicly came out and has been active in the LGBT community ever since. She participated in a kissing protest in front of the Russian Parliament at the very moment politicians voted in the law against “propaganda of homosexuality.

Statement: “Dear LGBT! Please bring as many of your colleagues, schoolmates, neighbours and relatives to this festival as you possibly can. Sometimes we can’t find the courage, the words, the patience to express what’s important to us. Films (good ones) can do it. That’s why Side by Side, in addition to everything else that it offers, is a great platform for coming out.

Today, we find ourselves in a frightening world, a world in which we are the enemies of the state simply by the virtue of having been born. Under such circumstances, opinions and compassion of those that are close to us and those that are strangers are important. Their resounding “NO!” combined with ours will help stop the laws that have already been adopted and prevent new ones being passed. They are our support, our protection; they are the people, the society. Don’t leave them in the dark!"

Aleksandr Markov was born in 1973 in Leningrad. He is a documentary filmmaker and a curator of several film programmes. He works for Message to Man Film Festival and the Goethe Institute in Saint Petersburg as well as for the African Film Festival in New York. Aleksandr trained at the College of Film and Television in Potsdam, Germany. He translated, from German, Wim Wenders’ "The Logic of Images: Essays and Conversations". Aleksandr teaches documentary history and production at the University of Film and Television in Saint Petersburg.

Statement: “Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard once said that a filmmaker can communicate anything. He just needs to be loved. From myself, I will add: filmmaking can only survive when it's free. Moviegoers come to the festival for a breath of artistic truth. Televised propaganda and soap operas do not belong here.

Desperate attempts to suppress individuality have a rich tradition in this country since the times of the Soviet Empire. One party, one slogan, one way of thinking. Our collective subconscious was for decades pushed toward banality. That's why we need to go to festivals and watch these films and not let ourselves be brainwashed. We need to question simple decisions and think independently. It is with great interest that I serve as a member of the jury for Side by Side and I hope all of its participants have great artistic discoveries along the way.not us, then who!”

Viktoriya Lomasko is a graphic artist and the author of a series of courtroom sketches from political trials (‘Forbidden Art’, the cases of Pussy Riot, Sergei Mohnatkin, Taisia Osipova, ‘6th May Prisoners’, Mikhail Kasenko and many others). She is also known for her series of sketch reports: ‘The Chronicles of Resistance’, depicting the opposition protests in Moscow. A long with co-curator Nadia Plungian of ‘The Feminist Pencil’ she has organized an exhibition of graphic art by women artists..

Statement: "Our society is divided into separate social groups that virtually don’t interact. That’s the source of alienation, hostility and even hatred towards ‘others’. Films on the life of specific individuals and communities help us to get to know, understand and accept each other. Given the latest homophobic laws, festivals such as Side by Side are especially needed. I am grateful to the organizers of the festival for the trust they expressed by inviting me to be on the jury."

Marina Staudenmann Marina was born in 1947. She is the founder and director of the international film festival agency Tour de Film. Since its inception 5 years ago, the agency has organized more than 40 festivals. Tour de Film collaborates with local cinemas as well as with international institutions and is the official representative in Russia of the Manhattan Short Film Festival, which takes place in 30 Russian cities.

Statement: "Side by Side and I have been partners for many years; every year Tour de Film helps Side by Side subtitle their films and I personally watch a large selection of the programme. We, the film festival crowd, are kindred spirits, and I have always been amazed by the persistence and skill with which this small group of organizers puts the Side by Side festival together and brings it to the Russian provinces. The latter, I believe, is especially important because that's how Side by Side is able to bring together and support LGBT communities in small towns. It is thanks to cultural events like this that we are able to combat bigotry, close-mindedness, aggression and ultimately make our society more open and tolerant. I am happy to have been invited, this time not just as a colleague but also as a member of the jury, especially because I greatly enjoy watching the films presented at the festival."

Bard Ydén joined the Oslo Skeive Filmer Film Festival in 2004 and became festival and programming director in 2008. He has a background in project management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Western Calligraphy from Roehampton Institute in London. The festival is a volunteer-based organization and therefore Bard also works part time in the theatre, curates film screenings and does the occasional freelance work in the film industry. This fall he has been a juror at festivals in Lisbon, Berlin, Madrid and now Saint Petersburg.

Statement: Ever since I was a child I have been drawn to films. As I've grown older this fascination has grown with me and I've seen and experienced first-hand the power that film possesses. A story presented in the right way can crush prejudices, create change, increase understanding and bring people closer together. We talk about increasing the level of "tolerance", but film can get us to a higher level than simply being "tolerated".

Every year I learn something new, sometimes discovering prejudices in myself I was not aware of and this is a main reason why I continue volunteering; I want to share these experiences. I want our audience, regardless of gender, orientation and identification, to see, learn and feel what I do.

What it means to be part of a global community and a global fight. Norway has come so far in LGBT rights it sometimes seems like there is nothing left to fight for and I am often asked if we still need an LGBT film festival. My answer is, when you stop asking that question, that is when we don't need it anymore. We have to appreciate just how lucky we are, recognize our own history, where we come from and to show support where support is needed. I am very honored to be part of the jury at Side by Side, an organization I admire deeply and hope to continue to work closely with in the future."



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