entertainment

Film with gay sex scene dropped from Moscow Film Fest at last minute, claims director

EXCLUSIVE: "Everything about actual politics and modern Russia scares the cowardly programme directors," director Seva Galkin tells Attitude

2021-04-27

Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Provided

A film containing a gay sex scene was dropped by Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) at the eleventh hour last week, according to Russian media.

The Fans - a gritty short about two skinheads who kill gay men while in a sexual relationship with each other - was originally scheduled to screen at the festival on 23 April.

However, the film was dropped at the last minute with no explanation provided, claims director Seva Galkin.

Local outlets subsequently quoted organisers as blaming the cancellation on "obscene language".

Based on a true story, The Fans stars Philip Grabovetsky and Igor German. Moscow-based filmmaker Galkin has said the film explores "the crisis of masculinity caused by 'Russian Section 28', banning positive representations of LGBTQ+ people among minors."

"This cocktail of questions scared the organizers of the MIFF"

Asked why he believes his film was withdrawn, Galkin [pictured below] today told Attitude: "In addition to the LGBT theme, the film raises questions of masculinity crisis, social division, conservative ideology, and political disinformation in Russia.

"In total, this cocktail of questions scared the organizers of the MIFF. Everything about actual politics and modern Russia scares the cowardly programme directors."

Asked if he's had any contact with the festival since The Fans was dropped, Galkin said: "Only directly with the selector who selected the film for out-of-competition screening. It was they who informed me about the removal of the film from the screening. But that was not their decision.



"They immediately offered to organise a screening of the film in a bookstore in Moscow outside the MIFF program. In addition, I received two more offers to organize showings. So instead of once, the film will be shown three times in Moscow. And also, in St. Petersburg and in Nizhny Novgorod."

Russia's federal law 'for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values', also known as the 'gay propaganda law', was enacted in 2013. It essentially bans the promotion of anything casting being LGBTQ in a positive light and was inspired by a similar British law enacted by late Prime Minister Margeret Thatcher.



Despite The Fans being dropped from the MIFF's programme, the festival is still screening Firebird, another film exploring LGBTQ themes and containing gay sex scenes.

Attitude has approached MIFF for comment.

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