The largest documentary festival in the United States, The DOC NYC, recently gave the production award to the HBO Max documentary Welcome to Chechnya. In the last 9 years, the festival has screened the documentary that would go on to win the Academy Award that year.
The secretly filmed doc follows the efforts to protect LGBTQ youth escaping abuse from the Chechen Republic of Russia. The film uses face swapping technology to hide the identities of those at risk of persecution. BBC Russia recently began streaming the doc for free on Youtube in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries, where it will likely have the biggest impact.
“The jury is proud to acknowledge the delicate touch, human care and creative gymnastics necessary to produce this powerful film,” the DOC NYC jury said. “The filmmakers gained access to this dangerous world in which the film’s subjects took great risks, and then used innovative technology to protect them, allowing these men and women to share their heartbreaking stories and inspirational acts of bravery with the world. Hats off.”
At the DOC NYC this year, Welcome to Chechnya went up against other highly anticipated documentaries like Hulu’s Greta Thunberg documentary, I am Greta, and Netflix’s social media doc, The Social Dilemma.