In the autumn of each year the city of Saint Petersburg becomes the host for the annual Side by Side LGBT Film Festival. The festival allows the opportunity for audiences to see in the region of 50 LGBT films from around the world: Russia, Europe, the States, Australia, Latin America, Africa and Asia included!
With each passing year audience numbers are growing and the festival today is now attended by thousands of people who are not only coming to watch award winning films but engage in discussion on issues relating to LGBT in Russia and around the globe. Visitors, on a lighter note, also have the possibility to meet guests such as Conchita Wurst, Ian McKellen, Marc Almond, Greg Louganis and directors behind the films, engaging with well known figures such as Rupert Everett, Gus Van Sant, Dustin Lance Black, Eytan Fox, all of whom have been in attendance at the festival, participating in discussions and Q & As.
The context in which the festival operates is in constant flux. Since 2012 it has taken place with the now infamous law against so-called propaganda of homosexuality to minors in force. The situation in Russia concerning LGBT rights is certainly challenging, Side by Side, however, remains defiant and we will continue to fight for a space within the public domain for the discussion of LGBT issues and rights. We aim to maintain and increase the visibility of the LGBT community with the view ultimately to bring around the propagation of a tolerant society where minority groups and individual freedom and choice are both respected and protected.
In the coming year we aim to go further forward building on our many successes. If you are a filmmaker and would like to be a part of our film festival in Saint Petersburg, then please submit your work for our consideration.