‘Unchechen:’ Short Film Raises Awareness on Gay Persecution in Russian Republic

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In just three minutes, one film attempts to send a clear message.

Last month, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported over 100 gay men in Chechnya were detained and tortured, with at least three murdered.

As a result, Director and Writer Stephen M. Hornby created the three-minute short film “Unchechen” to tell the story of Khamzat, a public servant facing persecution.

“Some of the details in this case are imagined, but the mechanics of his capture, torture and eventual fate are all based on reports from the few people who have escaped,” Hornby told The Huffington Post. “The sad thing to say is that there is no exaggeration in the film.”

The short film, which only has two characters, was originally on the stage in Manchester last month, commissioned by theater collective Take Back. The film is based on accounts told by men who have escaped these alleged anti-gay prisons.

“We can read about their story, but it’s not the same as having them tell it. It doesn’t engage us emotionally,” he said. “So, we wanted to bridge that gap by dramatizing one man’s story. What we hope is that it makes the story real, shocks you and makes you want to help and take some action.”

One survivor told FRANCE 24 that parents of gay men are told to kill their children.

The Russian LGBT Network is currently evacuating gay men living in Chechnya, according to NPR, and have reportedly saved 40 so far.

Watch the film here: 

 

If you want to help gay men flee Chechnya, you can participate in this Facebook fundraiser here.


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