Journalist and Director Liliya Anisimova's Documentary "Love Is the Highest Law" will screen Friday at Tribeca Cinemas in NYC.
Online PR News – 20-March-2015 – Los Angeles, CA – Liliya Anisimova's eye-opening feature length documentary film "Love Is the Highest Law" will screen Friday at 10 p.m. at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City as an Official Selection of the SR Socially Relevant Film Festival NY, which will be followed by a Q & A session with Anisimova.
The film gives audiences an inside look into what it means to be a homosexual person in modern Russia where current laws make it impossible for human rights organizations to protect the gay and lesbian population without being fined for spreading propaganda under Russia's anti-LGBT propaganda law which was signed into legislation by the Russian Federal Duma on June 30, 2013.
Duncan Osborne, a member of the LGBT right group Queer Nation NY, says, "Russia enacted a law that bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. Russia also barred adoptions of Russian children by any person living in a jurisdiction that allows same sex marriage. These laws have intensified a campaign of anti-LGBT violence in Russia that began several years ago."
Shot in the style of cinema verite "Love Is the Highest Law" follows the lives of Russian immigrants Sandro Masmanidi ("Project Runway") and Vadim Dardagani, and Dardagani's American-born boyfriend Jonathan Looper. The film, which was shot primarily in California and New York, portrays the struggle that Masmanidi, a fashion designer, and Dardahani, an actor, go through in order to legally remain in the United States and avoid Russia's unjust persecution.
Aaron C. Morris, Legal Director of Immigration Equality, says, "Our gay clients have been set on fire, slashed with machetes, and sentenced to death. The protection of asylum literally saves their lives. It is important for our community to know that asylum may be a means to stay safely in the United States. This film helps to explain that process, and to highlight its remarkable importance."
The film is an astonishing testament to Anisimova's talent as both a director and journalist and it will undoubtedly be a highlight of the 2015 SR Socially Relevant Film Festival NY.
A television journalist turned documentary film director Liliya Anisimova started her career as a journalist covering a wide range of subjects for Moscow's state-run news stations Teleinform and Doverie. However, as her political beliefs diverged from the mainstream views of the news stations and the Russian government, Anisimova made the decision to leave her job as a news anchor and begin directing documentary films.
During the creation of "Love Is the Highest Law" Anisimova learned of the brutal murder of 22-year-old Vlad Tornovy, who she says was attacked for being gay in the Russian city of Volgograd "having two and a half beer bottles forced into his anal cavity, his genitals slashed, and his face bashed in with a rock before dying." Anisimova says hearing the news of this specific attack reaffirmed for her that she was on the right track in choosing this subject matter for her film.
"Clearly, it is petrifying for any person in the world who sees such news, but for me it was even more personal as Volgograd is my hometown. It is like something happened in my own family," explains Anisimova. "Russian gays experienced some homophobia before, but seeing it institutionalized in the laws is horrible and it gives carte blanche to people who hate the LGBT community to violence."
"Love Is the Highest Law" has already gained incredible recognition at film festivals in the U.S. taking home the Award of Merit from the 2015 IndieFEST Film Awards, and becoming an Official Selection of the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival and the Queer Film Festival.
This will be Anisimova's second documentary to screen at Tribeca Cinemas in New York. One of her previous documentaries entitled "From Reel to Reel" screened at Tribeca Cinemas in 2013 as an Official Selection of the Golden Egg Film Festival (GEEF).
Michel Negroponte, who directed the documentary films "I'm Dangerous With Love," "Methadonia," "The Sightseer" and "W.I.S.O.R." among others, says, "Liliya approaches her work as a filmmaker with remarkable intensity. Her vision strikes me as unusually mature and developed for such a young artist."