A Worm in the Heart
A gay couple from San Francisco travels through Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, collecting evidence of LGBT persecution and activist resistance.
A gay couple from San Francisco decide to see for themselves what the situation is like for LGBT people in Russia. They start in St. Petersburg and then travel farther east through Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Along the way, they collect the stories of gay activists who, despite the real danger, are trying to take action to defend their communities. Their conversations, supplemented with footage from the Internet and state television channels, reveal the scale of persecution of non-heteronormative people. Beatings, intimidation, ubiquitous hatred, public humiliation—these are the things they have to deal on a daily basis. But despite the unimaginably difficult situation, there are still courageous people who, without regard for their own safety, organize and fight for their rights. They arrange an underground drag scene, disseminate medical information for transgender individuals, and provide legal advice. And still, despite everything, they hope their situation will improve someday.
Film presented with the support of the Embassy of the United States of America
Santa Barbara IFF 2020
Miami OUTShine LGBTQ FF – Jury Prize, Audience Prize
Visions Du Réel 2020
Calgary IFF 2020
Vancouver Queer FF 2020