New Short Film on the Plight of Gay Men in Chechnya
“Unchechen” is a new short film about the attempted genocide of gay men in Chechnya (a federal republic of Russia) that hopes to act as a call to action. The three minute film has been created by the award-winning Inkbrew Productions and Digital Stage and is available free to view on-line now. It tells the harrowing story of the entrapment and interrogation of Khamzat, a public servant who works on the census.
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. All the cast and crew are professionals who have volunteered.
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. This is an emotional story to connect people to what’s happening and hopefully stimulate a response.”
“Unchechen” is available to view free here:
The film-makers hope that people who view it will take action on three ways:
- Donate to Rainbow Railroad, a charity dedicated to providing practical support for LGBT people who have faced or face an imminent threat of violence, imprisonment, or death. They are working now to get men from Chechnya, and need funds to help more men. Donations can be made here: https://www.rainbowrailroad.ca/donate
- Email the Russian Embassy in the UK in protest at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sign on-line petitions to call on politicians to take diplomatic and economic sanctions against Russia unless it stops the persecution of gay men.