Saint Petersburg, Russia (PRWEB) November 30, 2007
In Fall 2008, Russia will host Side by Side ("Bok o Bok"), its first international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival. Taking place in Saint Petersburg, the festival will run from 2-5 October, 2008, with films and events at the historic Dom Kino House of Cinema, one of Europe's premier venues for quality world cinema.
The event, which is expected to draw visitors from over 30 countries as well as major international sponsors, will give film enthusiasts of all persuasions the opportunity to enjoy the very best in contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema. Over 4 days, Side by Side will showcase work from around the world including feature films, innovative independent films, documentaries, experimental and short films.
Said Manny de Guerre, Marketing Manager, "We aim to provide a rich and diverse programme that will not only be of interest to the lesbian and gay community but also to the general cinema-going audience in Saint Petersburg. We are very proud to be working with Dom Kino House of Cinema and hope that Side by Side will become a permanent fixture in Russia's cultural calendar." Although homosexuality is no longer a punishable criminal offence in Russia, homophobia at all levels of society is rife and discrimination against minority groups goes unchallenged on a daily basis. Many people, fearing a backlash, choose not to come out and, as a consequence, must lead secret or double lives.
"This is a landmark event for lesbian and gay culture in Russia," said Festival Organizer Irina Sergeeva, "We want to raise public awareness about lesbian and gay life and confront those very prejudices that permeate through our society. We hope that the Side by Side film festival will lead to a fruitful dialogue with the public at large, stimulating positive debate and in turn engendering greater understanding and broader acceptance of those who live a lifestyle considered 'different' from the preconceived norms."
The success of Side by Side will also serve as a litmus test, showing the extent to which Russia has moved towards a society where individuals are respected and human rights are valued and upheld.
Side by Side is currently accepting film and video submissions to be presented during the film festival. The festival will consider works with major characters who are lesbians, gay men, bisexual, intersex and/or transgendered people. To submit films for consideration, please visit http://www.bok-o-bok.ru/en/films/ for submission instructions.
Our Mission Statement:
Side by Side is an independent non-profit organisation that seeks to be one of Europe's largest LGBT film festivals. We aim to run an annual showcasing the best in contemporary lesbian and gay cinema from around the world at venues in Saint Petersburg. We want to forge a reputation as one of the world's premier LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) film events, where LGBT and other audiences are offered the chance to see the work of exciting new and established filmmakers. Committed, driven, energetic and passionate about our goals, we endeavor to create a cultural space in which members of the LGBT communities are not only able to question, reaffirm and extend their identities but additionally establish contact with society at large, generating dialogue in a positive atmosphere through the medium of film, facilitating understanding and fundamentally broader acceptance of minority groups. For more information, visit http://www.bok-o-bok.ru/en.
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