U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing
Searing urgency is a guiding force as Welcome to Chechnya shadows a group of activists who risk unimaginable peril to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ+ pogrom raging in the repressive and closed Russian republic. Since 2016, Chechnya’s tyrannical leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has waged a depraved operation to “cleanse the blood” of LGBTQ+ Chechens, overseeing a government-directed campaign to detain, torture, and execute them. With no help from the Kremlin and only faint global condemnation of the violence, a vast and secretive network of activists takes matters into its own hands.
With unfettered access, Academy Award nominee David France (How to Survive a Plague, 2012 Sundance Film Festival) chronicles a modern-day underground railroad, using a remarkable approach to protect the anonymity of his subjects. France is the perfect filmmaker to tell this story. He’s a warrior with a camera and the ultimate purveyor of the imperative of documentary to expose atrocity and ignite change. With scorching power that will leave you quaking in your seat, Welcome to Chechnya dares to confront genocide in the making.
CATEGORY U.S. Documentary Competition
RUN TIME 107 min
LANGUAGE English and Russian
SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles
COMPANY Public Square Films
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