Hoax Call Fails to Stop the Opening of VI Side by Side Film Festival

2 years ago by in Side By Side Film Festival

The sixth Side by Side LGBT Film Festival opened, albeit a 2 hour delay, yesterday evening on 21 November, 2013 at Karo Cinema Multiplex, Saint Petersburg. Proceedings were expected to begin at 19.30 however due to an unknown caller contacting the Shopping Centre, Varshavsky Express, at around 19.00 claiming that a bomb had been left on the premises the shopping centre was evacuated. After an hour and a half of checks by police and disposal experts the claims proved to be false and the building was declared safe of any explosive devices.

The patience of visitors and guests who optimistically waited, in the cold, outside the shopping complex did not permit the preceding events to overrun and spoil the opening of the festival. The police, permitting visitors and organizers, back onto the premises at around 21.00 the real festivities were able to get underway. And the wait proved worthwhile, the opening film Matterhorn (Diederik Ebbinge, Netherlands, 2013) received a standing ovation, the audience expressing their thanks and gratitude to Dennis Wielaert the Director of Photography who was present at the screening.

Organizers commenting of the incident stated: “We hope that the police will act accordingly, find the perpetrators of this crime and those guilty individuals punished appropriately. It was a cowardly act and yet another attempt to intimidate and threaten the LGBT community, supporters and allies. We hope that there will not be any other incidents of this nature. We are continuing to monitor the situation and are in contact with police chiefs in order to oversee the safety and order at events.”


Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival
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Side By Side LGBT Filmfest

Side by Side Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) International Film Festival aims to establish free open cultural spaces in which homosexual and transgendered persons are able to affirm, question and extend their identities. We call for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and inequality based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity and gender expression. Through the medium of high-quality, intelligent film it seeks to create a forum for discussion with society at large dismantling myths and obsolete stereotypes that continue to hamper the development of the LGBT community in Russia. By generating a positive dialogue it endeavors to facilitate change, fostering respect of human rights of LGBT persons and fundamentally bringing about greater tolerance and broader acceptance of sexual minority groups within Russian society today.

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