A number of LGBT and gay feature and short films will be screened from Saturday the 15 November to Tuesday the 18 November as part of London cross-arts fest GFEST – Gaywise FESTival. All the film events will take place at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London.
Andrey Kruganov, one of the main leads of the feature film STAND at Rich Mix on 15 November will attend the Q&A session with audience, after the film screening at 12 noon.
In 12 minutes, The Last Farewell (2013) features a delicate story of a gay man who decides to review his own life, reflecting about his successes and failures, unveiling a path to comprehension and forgiveness. In this quick interview, Swedish director Casper Andreas tells us more in detail about this award-winner production.
How do you describe “The Last Farewell”?
The short answer is that it’s an alternative family drama about life and death! Sounds dramatic and it is in a way, but it’s also a sweet love story dealing with acceptance and forgiveness.
We see “new” topics related to LGBT people, not usually explored in cinema, such as maturity, death…
There are a few films out there about LGBT characters dealing with those things. It certainly was something new for me to explore though (I’m mostly known for my romantic comedies) but its been amazing to see how audiences of all ages are able to relate to the characters and what they are going through.
How was filming it?
Like always the challenges when filming an independent film was time and money. We had an amazing two-day shoot though. My actors were just wonderful and the film team was so supportive making sure we got everything we needed finished in those two days.
Would you like to highlight any part in specific?
Well there is a moment in the second part of the film when the main character does a quick turn that I’m super happy with. I think that sequence is very powerful and I hope everyone is paying attention at that moment. But it’s a 12 min film so hopefully they will be paying attention throughout.
GFEST – Gaywise FESTival from 10 to 22 November venues : films & cabaret at Rich Mix (15 to 18 Nov), Dance at RADA Studio (20 Nov), Art exhibition at Menier Gallery (10 to 22 Nov), Bar Titania (a new event: Authors book reading ‘L is for..’ free entry – turn up on 13 Nov at 6 pm ) & debate at Roehampton University (19 Nov)
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.
HV: Is there any specific part to which the audience should pay more attention?
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.
In the middle of the night, a piano music is the background for the meeting of two lovers. They do not need to say anything, but a message becomes very clear. June is a silent short film directed by Canadian Aaron Chan. The beautiful photography is a highlight for this production at the last evening of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 film screenings.
The same environment of lyric and sweet romance gives the tone for The Secret Path, a historical drama. In the year 1810, Frank and Theo are two British navy soldiers in love, planning to escape an unbearable journey in a ship. An unexpected development happens when they both realise that escaping away is just the beginning of another struggle.
Both movies are interesting productions and show how the GLBT stories also may produce romantic, sensitive dramas focused on relationship, different of the stereotype of the sex-related productions.
In the last evening of the film sessions, the audience will have the chance to join a Q&A session with The Secret Path director Richard Mansfield. The screening of both movies happens on Tuesday, 18/11 at 8.15 pm at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
The third film screening at the 2014 GFEST – Gaywise FESTival exhibits different approaches for the different and complex periods of life. A gay man reviewing his own trajectory sets the tone of The Last Farewell (2013), a short film written and directed by Swedish director Casper Andreas. Although not a frequent subject in GLBT productions, this delicate story is a profound reflection on the different stages of our life and the moment when some choices have a limited time to be made. This award-winner drama has been seen in many festivals around the world. On the other edge, The Way He Looks is a story about young people and how their choices can also be complex. Blind teenager Leonardo is best friend with Giovana, when a boy arrives to change their relationship forever. Will Daniel’s disability influence his preferences? This new Brazilian feature production will debut with exclusivity at GFEST and has a great soundtrack, including Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. The screening of both movies happens on Monday, 17/11 at 6 pm at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA