A screening of Alexandra-Therese Keining’s movie Pojkarna (Girls Lost), at the LGBT film festival Side by Side in Moscow, was interrupted by a bomb threat on Sunday.
Keining told Expressen via text message: “After about 45 minutes viewing, the organisers and police received a bomb threat by phone. We evacuated immediately and a three-hour search for a bomb began. We were very impressed with how the festival acted but also disappointed that the screening of the film was not resumed despite the fact that no bomb was found.”
Several films and documentaries are being shown at the festival on a similar theme, but Keining believe that Pojkarna is particularly controversial because it is about young people who are exploring their sexuality and gender roles.
“Pojkarna is about the right to explore who you are,” Keining said in a press release. “As long as it provokes a threat here – bomb threats – the courageous actions of people such as those at the Side by Side Festival are needed. The inspiration for this is that human rights must never be threatened into silence.”
Based on Jessica Schiefauer’s novel, Pojkarna tells the story of three teenage girls who are bullied as they seek to find themselves. Surrounded by teenage violence, marginalisation and sexual confusion, things change when they discover a plant with magical properties – when they drink its nectar the girls are temporarily transformed into boys. Not only does their gender change but so does the world around them and their response to it.
Pojkarna premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, and has been selected to appear at Cannes this year, in the category of Cannes Ecrans Juniors which recognises films considered to be of particular interest to French youths aged 13 to 15.