Russia’s only film festival directly catering to the country’s LGBT festival is no more, courtesy of pressure from its government.
Ready to enter its 13th year, Moscow Premiere, which features free screenings of controversial-in-Russia features, was given a letter from Moscow’s cultural committee explaining its funding had been pulled due to a “difficult economic situation”. Just days before the festival’s September 2nd opening, “the culture department of Moscow ha[d] to limit the use of budgetary resources in 2015,” although still replacing the festival with a Youth Festival of Life-Affirming Film, headed by Yevgeny Gerasimov, a city council member and member of United Russia, the Kremlin’s ruling party.
Prominent Russian film critic and head of Moscow Premiere, Vyacheslav Shmyrov, said he had no intention of joining in the new festival’s celebrations as it featured a, “very different program.” Films like Russia 88 and Winter’s Path, about neo-Nazi’s and homosexuality, respectively, were the type of film’s ready for Moscow Premiere, yet are nowhere near the Youth Film Festival programme.
The cancellation of Moscow Premiere comes at a particularly volatile time in the nation’s relationship with its LGBT community, coming only 2 years since the country passed a sweeping anti-LGBT federal set of laws, meant to ban “the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors”.
Little is known about the future of Moscow Premiere, however, Shmyrov hopes to salvage parts of the programme. The charitable “‘Moscow Premiere’ is primarily a social festival and a charity project that exists for those people, especially the older generation, who can not afford to go to the movies,” Shmyrov said. “It is mainly a social mission.”
Let’s see what happens but one thing is for certain, art, like life, simply cannot go suppressed, oppressed, or marginalised for the long term. A totalitarian regime, perpetuating hate and bigotry is doomed from the onset. Here’s to the impending revolution!
Source: Think Progress