Based on real events, Stand (2013) tells the story of a couple in search of evidences to unravel a homophobic crime in Russia. This production is directed by French Jonathan Taieb, and starred by Renat Shuteev (Anton) and Andrey Kurganov (Vlad). In an interview, Taieb has spoken about the challenges of making a movie about gays, particularly filming it in Ukraine; a country then emerged into a political crisis. The director agrees about the lack of feature films approaching the situation of gay rights in Russia, mostly seen only in documentaries. Here we have, according to his words, “a drama, thriller and cinema verité, a debate about love and hate, between the epic and the intimate”.
Helton Vilar: To which extent the narrative is connected with the current situation of LGBT rights in Russia?
Jonathan Taieb: The film is partly inspired by true events. Some neo-Nazis groups hunt the Homosexuals in Eastern Europe due, in part, to the new law, which forbids any “sexual-propaganda”. Some videos of these humiliations and violent moments are still online and have been seen by over 500,000 users. There are a lot of Antons, the main characters of the film, all over the world, fighting for Human Rights.
HV: Did you face any challenge when filming “Stand”?
JT: It was really tough to shot the film, in Ukraine, during the crisis. As a French-European, we have to face with the wave of anti-European sentiment. We were really lucky to find some people who really help us on site. And in Kharkov, the city where we shoot and the second largest Ukraine city, just 50 km from Russia, a homophobic group attacked a gay man just few days before we arrived to shoot.
JT: I think Stand is (just) a film and the reality is worse. The audience and media may have to stay tuned in with Human Rights topics, and not just during big international meetings like Olympic games. It’s not sporadically that people are deprived of their rights and we have to get the power, thanks to social media and Internet, or culture, arts and films, to change things.
Stand is a part of the GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014, and it will be screened on Saturday, 15/11 at 12 noon at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA – A Q&A session with actor Andrey Kurganov will happen just after the session.