Local filmmaker Logan Mucha’s acclaimed documentary East Bloc Love will have its Australian premiere at this month’s Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival before going on to screen at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

The film follows the story of 20-year-­old gay activist Sergey Yenin, whose boyfriend was shot on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. After expulsion from Minsk University by the KGB for his political views and his sexuality, Yenin joined the banned LGBT group GayBelarus and helped them plan a defiant march in Minsk despite a ban.

Logan said he was pleased to see East Bloc Love make its Australian premiere at one of the biggest LGBT festivals in the world after a successful run at international film festivals.

“East Bloc Love has been screened from the UK to Brazil, so it’s great to see the film brought home for Australian audiences to see,” he said.

“It’s been a long journey since the streets of Belarus and I hope my film sheds some light on the dire situation for LGBT activists in the last dictatorship of Europe.”

In the film, Mucha interviewed a range of people about the struggle for gay equality in Eastern Europe, from Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev to Romanian princess Brianna Caradja.

“The story of Sergey Yenin is accompanied by the tales of LGBT activists across the Eastern bloc, exploring whether these countries are prepared to fully embrace the idea of homosexuality after years of Soviet oppression,” he said.

INFO: East Bloc Love will make its Australian debut at Cinema Paris in Sydney on February 14, 4.30pm with Mucha in attendance. It will then screen at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, running March 15 – 25. More at www.eastbloclove.com

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