Welcome to Chechnya

  • David France
  • United States
  • 2020
  • 107 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

LGBTQ+ people in the ultra-conservative Chechen Republic fear for their lives. Hundreds have already been arrested and tortured in secret prisons—in an ongoing purge that tyrannical President Ramzan Kadyrov has unconvincingly denied. A group of courageous Russian activists take unimaginable risks to smuggle persecuted LGBTQ+ people out of the country and provide them with a safe haven, aided by an international network.

This chilling documentary thriller has already won awards at festivals including Sundance, Hot Docs and the Berlinale. David France (nominated for an Oscar for How to Survive a Plague in 2013) is not one to stand on the sidelines—with a small camera he records the most dangerous moments along the escape route of Grisha, an event organizer who endured systematic torture, and Anya, who risks being murdered by her family.

France uses deepfake techniques to digitally alter the faces of the refugees and thus protect their anonymity. He films their nerve-racking underground journeys and the shelters where they find refuge. But even abroad, they are never completely safe.



  • 107 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English, Russian, French, Chechen
  • Subtitles in: English
David France
Alice Henty / Maylo Films, David France / Public Square Films, Joy A. Tomchin for Public Square Films, Askold Kurov
Executive producer
Joy A. Tomchin for Public Square Films
Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund, The Palette Fund
Askold Kurov, Derek Wiesehahn

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