“By making a documentary about the Children 404 generation the filmmakers took their voices further, to let the world know what the day-to-day reality is like that the news headlines don't necessarily reveal." - The Georgia Straight
- One World Prague
- Movies That Matter
- DocPoint Helsinki
- Vancouver Queer FF
- *Best Political Film Award* | Filmfest Hamburg
This harrowing documentary gives voice to brave Russian LGBTQ youth behind and their underground web movement 'Children 404' in the aftermath of Putin's legalization onslaught, corrosive propaganda and the violent anti-LGBTQ sentiment that has been dominating Russian society since.
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin had passed, with typically unapologetic fashion, a bill forbidding the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors.” An estimated 2.5 million LGBTQ youth in Russia were instantly and systematically condemned by the Putin-led Russian hegemony, with its conservative moralistic message spread further by the Orthodox church and the ubiquitous state-run media. Soon enough, a culture of discrimination has taken hold across Russian communities, leading to heinous acts of violence against increasingly isolated and endangered youth. Any outlets of public advocation for LGBTQ rights in Russia were rendered illegitimate and strictly punishable. Well-intentioned psychologists, teachers, social workers, and even parents were severely fined or imprisoned if failing to abide by the new law, ultimately forcing citizens to take an active part in delegitimizing LGBTQ youth and embrace an aggressive climate of hate and repression.
But unlike the systematic persecution of religion during Soviet times, where raids of underground gatherings by the KGB had frequently led to violent arrests, today's persecuted LBGTQ youth would soon find a refuge of expression in the relatively anonymous corners of social media.
Forty-five Russian teens and tweens share their stories through anonymous interviews and video diaries; They detail the humiliations they’ve been enduring and voice courageous stands against the bullies of the State. Some, such as the group’s founder laments of the struggle to bring about public attention and empathy to the countless victims of this government-endorsed hate campaign, while activist Pasha asserts that he must leave his homeland altogether if he hopes to find a boyfriend and lead a normal life. Their harrowing testimonies are collected online under the Children 404 project, named after the common “Error 404 - page not found” web message. This brave and startling documentary is both a chronicle and a partaking manifestation of this pressing movement that calls for global exposure.
76 Minutes | Russian with English subtitles.
Directed by: Askold Kurvo & Pavel Loparev
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