HBO Documentary Films has acquired North American television and streaming rights to the powerful and eye-opening documentary WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, from Academy Award nominated director David France (“How to Survive a Plague,” “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson”). This searing documentary shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya. With unfettered access and a commitment to protecting anonymity, this documentary exposes these underreported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of heroic people confronting crushing brutality.
WELCOME TO CHECHNYA will have its world premiere in the U.S. Documentary Competition section of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and will debut in June 2020 on HBO.
“I am thrilled to have partnered with HBO to help shed light on this ongoing humanitarian crisis,” says France. “WELCOME TO CHECHNYA needed a distributor that is fearless and believes in the power of social justice filmmaking.”
In the present-day Russian republic of Chechnya, gay and transgender citizens are targeted as part of a deadly “cleansing” campaign. This revealing film chronicles a group of LGBTQ activists as they work undercover and at great personal danger to rescue the victims of this aggression. Through a succession of safe houses and a global underground network of collaborators, the LGBTQ advocates provide victims temporary safety and urgent visa assistance, because fleeing Russia is their only chance for survival.
The deal for WELCOME TO CHECHNYA was negotiated with HBO by Josh Braun for Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.
WELCOME TO CHECHNYA is a Public Square Films production, directed by David France; produced by Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, Askold Kurov and David France; edited by Tyler H. Walk, cinematography by Askold Kurov; co-producers Igor Myakotin, Tyler H. Walk. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.