Award winning writer and Oscar®nominated director David France (“How to Survive a Plague,” “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”) continues to bring important LGBTQ issues to the fore in WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, his searing documentary about an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Employing a guerilla filmmaking style, France takes us inside the fraught, day-to-day workings of an underground pipeline of activists who face unimaginable risks to rescue LGBTQ victims from Chechnya’s brutal government-directed campaign. In a republic where being gay or transgender is unspeakable, the LGBTQ community lives in the utmost secrecy and fear, under threat of detention, torture and death, often at the hands of the authorities. Extensive access to a remarkable group of activists – from the Russian LGBT Network and the Moscow Community Center for LGBTI+ Initiatives – and alarmingly brutal footage of abuse, bring to light the underreported atrocities and the dangers of exposing them.

David France is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning investigative journalist. His directorial debut, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, is hailed as an innovative and influential piece of storytelling and is regularly screened in university classrooms, and by community groups and AIDS service organizations. Appearing on over 20 “Best of the Year” lists, including Time and Entertainment Weekly, the documentary earned a GLAAD Awardand top honors from the Gotham Awards, the International Documentary Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the Provincetown Film Festival, among many others. After a theatrical run reaching over 30 cities, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE was aired on PBS’ Independent Lens, reaching an audience of millions and garnering Academy and Emmy nominations and a Peabody Award. His 2017 film, THE DEATH & LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON, a Netflix Original Documentary, won numerous festival prizes and was awarded the Outfest “Freedom Award” and a special jury recognition from Sheffield International Documentary Festival. Critics put it on multiple “Best of the Year” lists (and gave it a 96% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes). David’s latest book, also titled HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE (Knopf, 2016), received the Baillie Gifford Prize for best nonfiction book published in the English Language. In addition, France has seen his journalistic work inspire several films, including the Peabody-winning Showtime film SOLDIER’S GIRL, based on his New York Times Magazine story of the transgender girlfriend of a soldier killed in an anti-gay attack.

Igor Myakotin is a filmmaker from the Russian Far East based in Brooklyn. He is a co-producer of Welcome to Chechnya (Sundance 2020, US Documentary Competition, Special Jury Award for Editing; Berlin International Film Festival, Panorama, Teddy Activist Award). His latest short documentary Swan Song was invited to premiere at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival ‘18 and received an award for Outstanding Documentary Filmmaking at the 38th FINE CUTS at The New School in New York City. Igor is an alumnus of The New School’s Documentary Studies Graduate Certificate program and NextDoc, a year-long fellowship.

Please join us for this online screening and Q&A, hosted and moderated by Amir Husak, Director of Documentary Studies and Assistant Professor in the School of Media Studies.

Presented by the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies


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3 thoughts on “DOC TALK (ONLINE): Welcome to Chechnya – Screening and Q&A with David France (Director) and Igor Myakotin (Co-producer)

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