Over the past couple of months there have been horrifying reports about what is going on in Chechnya, where a purge is happening of gay men, with suggestions of the first concentration camps in Europe since the Second World War, when gay men are imprisoned and tortured, apparently to get them to name other gay people. Most recently it’s been said at least 30 people have been killed, either by the authorities or by being outed to their families and the police suggesting the family ‘take care’ of it. This included reports over the weekend of a teenage boy being thrown from a ninth floor balcony by his uncle (who was following the wishes of other family members) after being outed to them by the authorities.
Meanwhile the Chechnyan government has insisted nothing has happened and there can’t be a purge as gay people don’t exist in the semi-autonomous region of Russia. Vladimir Putin meanwhile was initially reluctant to investigate until intense international pressure was put upon him to do so (but there’s still little evidence he’ll do anything).
One of the responses to this unfolding horror is the short film Unchechen. As Attitude reports, ‘Take Back, a theatre collective led by Julie Hesmondhalgh, commissioned a stage version of Unchechen which was performed at Contact, Manchester in May 2017. The response to the piece was so strong that it created a momentum to film the piece, in order for it to reach a much wider audience. Stephen M Hornby, the original writer, adapted it for screen and recruited Inkbrew Productions and Digital Stage to make the film. Dean Gregory (Hamlet, Royal Exchange Manchester) and Martin Green (Green Room Creative Productions) play the lead roles.
‘Alex Markham, Director digitalSTAGE, said: “I’m sickened by what’s happening in Chechnya, but, like a lot of people, I felt impotent. I wanted to do something immediate and practical to offer solidarity. I hope this film will get people donating to help some more of these men get to safety.”
‘Stephen M Hornby, writer and director of “Unchechen”, said: “The State organised extermination of gay men in Chechnya is a horrific ghost from World War Two. But it’s real. The men fleeing from it are too terrified to go on camera, and so I wanted to try to fill the silence with something that attempts to make this crisis real and human.’
Take a look at the short film below. If you know a short film we ought to be posting, tell us by getting in touch via our contact page. And check out more LGBT short films and web series here. [Read more…]