Friday, October 3, 2008
By Sergey Chernov
Two popular local nightclubs are facing closure after they agreed to hold a gay and lesbian film festival on their premises. The Place and Sochi, two venues popular with students, the art crowd and expats, were targets of unscheduled fire safety inspections on the eve of the festival’s opening and were in the process shut down for breaking the fire code.
Side by Side, the first LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) film festival in St. Petersburg, featuring an international schedule of 17 feature films and five short film programs as well as personal appearances by a number of international filmmakers, was due to open at The Place and Sochi, on Thursday.
“We are indignant, upset and distressed,” said Irina Sergeyeva, one of the three organizers of the festival that features films from the U.S., Europe and Moscow.
“We have had the festival opening scheduled for tonight at two venues, and it became known earlier today that by the order of the fire inspectors, who paid visits to the both clubs yesterday, the clubs are closed, so the film festival will not be held at these venues,” she said speaking by telephone on Thursday.
Guests at the four-day festival which was due to end Sunday included John Cameron Mitchell, whose 2006 film “Shortbus” garnered many awards at such festivals as the Athens International Film Festival, Gijon International Film Festival and the Zurich Film Festival. Continue reading