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Olya’s Love

Russia/Austria, 2014, 68/52min
director: Kirill Sakharnov
status: world premiere at IDFA Panorama 2014, Nov. 20th 2014

Olya´s Love” is a film about a lesbian couple living in Russia. Olya is a fighter, active member of the LGBT-community, her partner Galiya doesn´t want to let politics rule her life. Their love is strong, and they want to have a baby together. When Russian Duma launches their discriminating laws against homosexuals, Olya starts to fight even stronger. But at the same time their love is put to the test.

A gentle awakening. The young Galiya has fallen asleep on the sofa; her eyes first open from the laugh of a woman’s voice and a loving touch. Galiya and Olya now stand before the clothes closet in their small, Moscow apartment and ponder what to wear for the demonstration that they are about to go to. The two have been a couple for two years; they openly declare their love and participate regularly in marches and gatherings protesting Russia’s anti-homosexual laws. Whereas Galiya, who is from the Ural, tends to keep more in the background, the Moscow native Olya is the driving force, in more than just their romantic relationship. Olya is an active member of the LGBT-movement, gives speeches, organizes events—and wants to demonstrate her love to Galiya with their own child.

In his documentary snapshot, Olya´s Love, Kirill Sakharnov accompanies his two protagonists through their everyday life, which is determined mainly by the events on the streets of Moscow and conversations at home. What strongly characterizes this film is its clever overlapping of private and public, especially within the context of a restrictive social system: to what extent are the freedoms that one fights for everyday, also possible in one’s relationship? When during a demonstration a battling Olya persists in talking to a policeman who remains silent, then her voice seems to collide against Putin’s state apparatus; but still, she makes her voice heard. And she knows that for the path to true democracy, as well as to her own happiness, every step counts, literally.
Olya´s Love is an intimate film that prefers close-ups to a big overview. A film that moves at the tempo of its protagonists, and also hands over the camera to them at times; one that acts quickly in order to react. Mainly, however, it is a film about love in the time of resistance. (Michael Pekler, sixpackfilm distribution)

co-production between Soleil Film (AT), SugarDocs (RU), Ethnofund (RU)
producers: Ksenia Sakharnova, Filip Antoni Malinowski, Jürgen Karasek, Vlad Ketkovich
director & dop: Kirill Sakharnov
editing: Max Kliewer (aea), Kirill Sakharnov
sound: Horst Schnattler

key cast:
Olya Kuracheva, Galiya Galeeva

technical details:

festivals (20):
IDFA Amsterdam 2014 (premiere)
Artdoc Fest Moscow 2014
This Human World Vienna 2014
Riga International Documentary Filmfestival 2014
LGBT History Month Bucharest 2015
Tamyn Naiskulttuuripäivät 2015
50 Shades of Feminism Tampere 2015
Diagonale Filmfestival Graz 2015
Filmfestival Assen 2015
Boston LGBT Filmfestival 2015
Krakow Filmfestival 2015
Biografilmfestival International Celebration of Lives, Bologna 2015
Frameline 39 LGBTQ San Francisco 2015
Oslo/Fusion International Filmfestival 2015
DokumentArt Filmfestival Neubrandenburg 2015
Chicago LGBTQ+ International Filmfestival 2015
MIX Copehnhagen 2015
Kju_Point Filmfestival Halle 2015
Side by Side International LGBT Filmfestival St. Petersburg 2016
Barcelona International Human Rights film festival 2016

special screenings:
#Respect Diversity by Amnesty International, Vienna, May 2015
Sixpack 4×2, Dokumentarfilmtage IV, Vienna, October 2015

festival distribution: sixpack film, link to Austrian Film Commission

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Olya Still 04


Olya Still 02


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