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Alexandra-Therese Keining

Statement: What an honour to be screening Kiss Me at Side by Side! My film centers around acceptance and I consider it to be one of the most important screenings of my film - knowing the vital impact of the festival on the LGBT Community in Russia where gay love is not accepted.

Before Kiss Me, I had written a few moody and dark screenplays, and I just felt like I wanted to make a film about true love. I knew that I had to make a film about two women falling in love. And that the story should have a positive vibe to it, unlike most lesbian themed films. There were a lot of challenges in writing the screenplay. This was the first lesbian film to come out of Sweden in about twelve years and Sweden is considered to be one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world.

I do think it moves a bit beyond the average lesbian film because it's a love story about relations and acceptance. Not only between two persons, but also between parents and their children and most importantly, the acceptance for ones true self. It was a very long and hard fight from start to end to make the film the way I had envisioned the story. To let the characters stay they way I had written them. Theyre not freaks or outcasts just because they love the same sex. To let the scenes where Mia and Frida express their love not be cut from the film. Frida and Mia are just two ordinary, normal people. To struggle to market the film as a lesbian film, not be forced to downplay the LGBT premise of it. Then again I am very passionate about the work I do so I dont mind the struggle Its part of the fight, I guess.

Director/Screenwriter: Alexandra-Therese Keining, born 1976, debuted with the feature film Hot Dog (2003) as Sweden s youngest female director and screenwriter. She is also a novelist, a playwright and casting director for many television productions. She directed and wrote "Kiss Me" which has been awarded at film festivals all around the world. Currently, she is working on her third feature film "Pojkarna" (Boys) to be released in 2015.

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