A leading gay rights activist has accused a German documentary maker of “acting in irresponsible and dishonest manner,” over the screening of a documentary about Moscow Pride at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
The documentary film East-West: Sex Politics by director Jochen Hick was screened at the festival last week.
It premiered in the Berlin International Film Festival in February and follows some LGBT people in Moscow around the Moscow Pride events.
Pride organiser Nikolai Alekseev claims there have been “numerous protests from the protagonists of this film and the breaches of copyrights and privacy and people.
East/West: Sex Politics is described as an “in-depth account of the attempts to mount a Gay Pride parade in Moscow in 2006 and 2007.
“Although providing a valuable record of headline grabbing attacks on demonstrators such as Peter Tatchell, Richard Fairbrass and German Euro MP Volker Beck, the film is as much a portrait of the lives of the march organisers.
“This film offers a chilling reminder of the fragile state of the rights of sexual minorities in Russia.”
Mr Alekseev told PinkNews.co.uk:
“The final version of this film was realised without any input of the Russian LGBT activists.
“As a result, it features totally incorrect facts. Some information is completely misleading and does not show the reality.
“One of the main protagonists shown in the film has been sent off from all LGBT organisations for improper activities and undermining of LGBT community.
“His story that is featured in the film is totally false. Two weeks before the screening of the film London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival was informed about it.
“Despite several oral and written remarks of Russian LGBT activists, the film director Jochen Hick denied to correct the misleading sections of his documentary. I personally requested to be taken out of the film as I do not want to appear in this masquerade.”
Mr Alekseev claims the film breaches the copyrights of Moscow Pride organisers in that it uses the video materials included in the earlier released film on Moscow Pride.
“Legal action is being initiated by us against the London Lesbian Gay Film Festival and the director of this film for having shown it two times in London without authorisation,” he said.
“Spectators are advised that this film is not supported by the Organising Committee of Moscow Pride. It also does not give an accurate and true facts of the real situation in Moscow.”
Mr Hick told PinkNews.co.uk:
“The company, which has produced and is currently distributing the film, is in possession of the relevant releases.
“No verbal agreements have been made. No excerpts of the film Moscow Pride ’06 have been shown in London, nor are planned to be shown in any future version or screening of the film.
“I have invited Nikolai Alekseev to be present at the London screening and to list up in print, what parts of the film would contain in his view “misleading information”, but he has never responded to this invitation.
“Four days before the London screening, the BFI and I have received an email from Nikolai Alekseev with unproven information about one of his closest co-workers within his organisation, although Nikolai Alekseev mentioned, that he would have had this information already for several weeks.
“This information is currently being verified by us and will be added to the film, once we have written proof from sources, we would consider as reliable.”
The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival finishes today.
The event’s press officer, Billy Wiz, told PinkNews.co.uk:
“The British Film Institute and the LLGFF have acted at all times in good faith.
“We took Mr Nikolai Alekseev’s concerns seriously and raised them with the producers of the film who confirmed that the copyright material Mr Nikolai Alekseev referred to was removed for our screenings.
“They also produced a consent form signed by Mr Nikolai Alekseev for the interviews with him that are included in the film.
“The BFI and the LLGFF are not in a position to arbitrate in a dispute between the producers and a participant in a film – they must settle that between themselves.”
Moscow Pride was banned by the city’s Mayor in 2006 and in 2007.
Last year gay protesters, including Peter Tatchell and Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass, were physically attacked by a homophobic mob.
Organisers plan to march in 2008 and have invited the Mayors of London, Paris and Berlin to take part in the human rights conference for LGBT rights and against homophobia which will take place in Moscow on May 30th and 31st.