A UK release date has been set for acclaimed documentary Queendom.
Directed by Agniia Galdanova, Queendom follows queer artist Gena Marvin from Magadan, a small town in Russia.
Having grown up “on the harsh streets” of a “frigid outpost of the Soviet Gulag”, Gena uses her art to stage “radical performances in public” creating a new hybrid intersection of art and activism.
The official synopsis says: “By doing that, she wants to change people’s perception of beauty and queerness and bring attention to the harassment of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Gena is known for dressing in a sci-fi, ethereal aesthetic created using disregarded upcycled materials to perform in protest against the government on the streets of Moscow.
Her performances have been described as: “Often dark, strange, evocative, and queer at their core – are a manifestation of Gena’s subconscious. But they come at a price.”
The documentary first made its screen debut earlier this year in competition at SWSX and has subsequently been awarded the Next:Wave award at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen and The Audience Award at The Camden Film Festival.
Queendom has received critical acclaim, with an 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Praise has been highlighted at the “raw and poignant” storyline with a note for the “bravery both cinematic and otherwise” in the execution of the documentary.
Galdanova is a Sundance and IDFA-supported documentary film director. Her work “focuses on complex human relationships told through immersive observational language”.
The documentary airs at a time where Vladimir Putin has signed some of the world’s most stringent anti-trans legislation into law on 24 July. This includes all forms of gender-affirming surgery, hormone therapy and blocks trans people from changing the gender identity listed on official documents, according to The New York Times.
Despite homosexuality being legal in Russia since 1993, members of the LGBTQIA+ community face opposition. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity are not prohibited by law and protective measures do not exist. The new legislation has come into place in an attempt to further ‘protect’ and ‘preserve the country’s so-called traditional values.
Upon the unanimous passing of the ban in the lower house of parliament Nef Cellarious, a representative of LGBTQIA+ rights group Vykhod, told Reuters the new law “is a logical continuation of the repressive policies of the Russian government, not only against LGBTQI people, but against human rights, freedom of speech, and democracy.”
Queendom will land in cinemas 1 December 2023.