Though members of the LGBTQ community struggle to find acceptance all over the world, even in places such as the US, where there is seemingly overwhelming support, the fight for acceptance is perhaps most dangerous in places such as Russia. And that’s the startling fact that is explored in the new documentary, “Welcome to Chechnya.”
As seen in the trailer, “Welcome to Chechnya” follows a courageous group of people that make it their mission to locate and rescue LGBTQ folks who are facing persecution, including violence and kidnapping in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Not only that, but the doc also shines a light on the people responsible for these hate-filled practices.
The documentary comes from director David France. The filmmaker’s debut feature, “How to Survive a Plague,” ended up scoring an Oscar nomination and won a Peabody award. Most recently, he released the 2017 doc, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.” “Welcome to Chechnya” debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it took home an award for Best Editing, and after it screened at this year’s Berlinale, it won the Audience Award for Best Doc.
“Welcome to Chechnya” arrives on HBO on June 30.
Here’s the synopsis:
In this searing documentary, Academy Award-nominated director David France (How To Survive A Plague) brings us a terrifying real-life thriller that shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. In recent years, tens of thousands of LGBTQ people in the republic have suffered detention, torture and sometimes death at the hands of the authorities. But a small network of queer activists have mobilized into action, smuggling people in need out of their communities, securing visas and sheltering them in safe houses. Shot with astonishing access, largely with hidden cameras that keep rolling throughout every moment of escape, and employing a revolutionary face-swapping technique to protect the anonymity of its endangered subjects, this documentary exposes these underreported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting a brutal system.