- Director: Kosta Karakashyan
A disturbing film. A more-than disturbing situation.
Where are the United Nations when you need them?
It is a documentary dance film revealing the harsh reality of LGBTQ+ persecution in the Chechen region of Russia. The contents of the film were inspired by testimonials of the arrests, torture, and blackmail that gay Chechens were subjected to throughout 2017. Through the accounts of 33 brave individuals who shared their stories, the film explores the themes of paranoia, trauma and hope. The film chooses dance as the primary medium in order to evoke three distinct emotions that showcase the intensity that Chechens faced: surveillance, brutality and hopelessness. The physically-charged, abstract movement is choreographed to enhance the resonance of the spoken testimonies, offering a physical interpretation to the psychological torture that the individuals experienced. The film is a direct response to the government anti-gay purge in Chechnya that made international news in April 2017 about the abduction, torture and extrajudicial killings of over 100 gay men in the Chechen Republic, a part of the Russian federation. As news spread, activists tried to evacuate survivors and push the local government for accountability, admittance and persecution of those involved in these terrible crimes against humanity. The Russian government has been stalling its investigation, refusing to come forward with anything conclusive even after reports and public testimonials of individuals who had successfully escaped were shared in the press.