Telling Activist Stories with David France

Keynote David France discusses key scenes from Welcome to Chechnya and the craft and technology employed to hide identities while enabling empathetic audience relationships.

When filmmaker David France set out to make Welcome to Chechnya he and his team had as of yet, no way to conceal the identities of gay and lesbian Chechen asylum seekers whose stories they had been entrusted with. Set against the backdrop of what is widely known as Chechnya’s gay-purge, this film seeks to reveal both the abuses faced by gay and lesbian Chechens, as well as, the incredible triumphs of activists on the ground saving people’s lives via the Russian LGBT Network.

Moderated by Laurrie Brannigan-Onato, in this session we see director David France explore the process of documenting the lives and journeys of LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, and the incredible feats the production went to in order to protect their identities.

This session will be joined by one of France’s Russian cinematographers, Alexandra Ivanova, who captured a pivotal scene in the film.


Image Credit: Welcome to Chechnya, Public Square Films, 2020