New documentary Welcome to Chechnya depicts the queer activists risking everything to help LGBT+ people

Directed by the Academy Award-nominated David France, 'Welcome to Chechnya' follows activists dedicated to protecting LGBT+ people against persecution.

Still from Welcome To Chechnya

Queer activists share their stories of fighting against ongoing statewide persecution of the LGBT+ community in the eye-opening new documentary, Welcome to Chechnya.

Directed by David France, Welcome to Chechnya portrays the monumental services of queer activists as they adapt to help LGBT+ people escape from Chechen authorities. The documentary utilises hidden cameras and technology to preserve the anonymity of some of those involved.

Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson shared on Twitter, “Proud to be Executive Producing this with @JustinMikita. When the world looks away, who will step up? @welcomechechnya documents the brave activists fighting against Chechnya’s ongoing, deadly anti-LGBTQ+ persecution. premieres June 30 on @HBO.”

Welcome to Chechnya captures the hostile environment that LGBT+ people are forced to navigate in order to survive and live openly. On the HBO website for the documentary, it reads, “The film follows these LGBTQ activists as they work undercover to rescue victims and provide them with safe houses and visa assistance to escape persecution.”

HBO have also provided descriptions of the resources available for the LGBT+ community facing this extreme discrimination, including Rainbow Railroad, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, Council for Global Equality, Moscow Community Centre, and Russian LGBT Network. Due to a terrifying spike in anti-LGBT+ persecution within Chechnya over the last few years, these services have become a vital lifeline for the community. 

Throughout the documentary, activists are shown adapting and overcoming challenges to help LGBT+ people survive against the brutal discrimination of local authorities. Head of Programming for GAZE Film Festival, Seán McGovern, expressed, “What you’re looking at is the bravest group of people I think I’ve ever seen – the protagonists of WELCOME TO CHECHNYA – extraordinary people who have endured unimaginable danger to work tirelessly for LGBTQ+ rights across the Russian Federation. Solidarity. Eternal solidarity.”

Director David France has previously worked on the critically acclaimed How to Survive a Plague and The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. His enthralling documentary Welcome to Chechnya will air on June 30. 

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