Date published: August 04, 2017

Students short film gets big screen premiere

A POSTGRADUATE student is having his short film on the horrors gay men face in Chechnya premiered at Home, Manchester today, Friday the 4th of August.

Stephen Hornby, a creative writing PhD student from the University of Salford will have his film, “Unchechen” supporting a screening of multi-award winning “Prick Up Your Ears”, Alan Bennett’s biopic of playwright Joe Orton, which features Gary Oldman in the lead role,  on Friday the 4th of August.

“Unchechen” is a short film that looks at the attempted genocide of gay men in Chechnya (a federal republic of Russia) and hopes to act as a call to action. It tells of the harrowing story of the entrapment and interrogation of just one of the men who form the #Chechen100, based on accounts  of  some of the men who have so far escaped. 

Take Back, a theatre collective led by Julie Hesmondhalgh, commissioned a stage version of “Unchechen” which was performed at Contact, Manchester in May 2017.  The response to the piece was so strong that it created a momentum to film the piece, in order for it to reach a much  wider  audience.

The three-minute film, which has already had over 70,000 views on-line, has been created by the award-winning Inkbrew Productions and Digital Stage.

Stephen adapted the original play for screen and recruited Inkbrew Productions and Digital Stage to make the film. Dean Gregory (Hamlet, Royal Exchange Manchester) and Martin Green (Green Room Creative Productions) play the lead roles. All the cast and crew are professionals who have volunteered.

Stephen, who wrote and directed “Unchechen”, said: “The State organised extermination of gay men in Chechnya is a horrific ghost from World War Two.  But it’s real.

“The men fleeing from it are too terrified to go on camera, and so I wanted to try to fill the silence with something makes this crisis human.  It’s an emotional story to connect with people and stimulate a response.”

Details of screenings and tickets are available on the HOME website.

You can watch the film below:

Unchechen from digitalSTAGE on Vimeo.

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