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VII Side by Side LGBT International Festival, 20 - 29 November, 2014

The countdown is on and only a very few days remain until the start of the VII Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, 20 29 November, 2014, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

A full programme, with a rich and diverse range of films and events, as well as an impressive line-up of guests from both Russia and around the world, is on offer to the public during the upcoming 10 festival days. Among the very many premiers this year, one which is a must to see, is the collection of short documentary films: A Day In the Life of directed by Russian filmmakers Alina Rudnitskaya, Olga Privolnova and Kristina Kvitko. The films focus on life of LGBT people in contemporary Russia and what has resulted is an eclectic mix of lyrical sketches and personal portraits. An experimental project, the film was co-produced by Side by Side.

Tove Jansson has been impressing and pleasing millions of people, of all ages, with her art and writing for many years and 2014 sees the 100th Anniversary of her birth. In honour, Side by Side, is also joining the celebrations and there will be an event dedicated to Toves life and work with Finnish artist and activist, Katriina Rosavaara, reading a lecture and director Kanerva Cederström will be talking us through films which use the archival material of Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä.

Scoring a major hit on the festival circuit this year are the films Something Must Break, 52 Tuesdays and Julia. The films address the transgender issue and challenge our view on gender identity, pushing boundaries in our perceptions and understanding. The creators, Ester Martin Bergsmark and Eli Leven (Sweden) and J. Jackie Bayer (Germany), behind the films will be in conversation after the screenings.

This year, Side by Side is honoured with the presence of special guests Judy and Dennis Shepard who suffered the appalling loss of their son Matthew through a brutal hate crime murder. The crime did not go unpunished and after the tireless efforts of campaigning by Judy and Dennis Shepard the US adopted the Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded hate crime legislation to include LGBT people. After the screening Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine there will be a discussion with Judy and Dennis Shepard and director Michele Josue.

With the increasing difficult climate in Russia for LGBT persons many are seriously contemplating packing bags and leaving the country. Is this the solution? Lawyer, Aaron Morris from the New York organization Immigration Equality is joining the discussion: LGBT Asylum: Should I Stay or Should I Go? to throw light on the issues and problems with political asylum for LGBT people. The discussion follows the documentary Alex and Ali which raises many issues concerning the dilemma of whether to leave ones homeland.

In our section Love Comes at all Ages the two films The Way He Looks (Daniel Ribeiro, Brazil) and Love is Strange (Ira Sachs, USA) explores the problems faced by gay men in the younger and more senior years. Rounding off the festival is the Swedish hit Kiss Me by Alexandra-Therese Keining who will participate in a Q & A after the film.

And finally to coincide with the publishing of our collection of LGBT Comics from Russia and around the world there will be the opportunity for visitors to take part in several workshops led by the German comic illustrator Elke.R. Steiner, who will be exploring the theme of identity.


Consulate of the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Canada and Australia, The Swedish Film Institute, the Goethe Institute, LUSH, BRIMBORIUM Café, Nevsky Hotels Group, Fruit Master, Bez Zatei, Ladybird Taxis and venue Les.

Information Partners:, Be-in, The Village, Wonderzine, KINOTE, Geometria, LAM, Bumaga, Vash Dosyg, St. Petersburg In Your Pocket, Gid Sobyitie, Peterburg 2

More information on: schedule, guests and workshops

Hashtag: #sidebyside2014

International PR contact: Manny de Guerre, [email protected]