Journalist Radio Station Echo Moskvy

Valery is a journalist with Echo of Moscow radio station, a newscaster, and political commentator. He has been in the business of journalism since 2003. He has covered such major political events as the revolution in Ukraine in 2014, the international investigation of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 near Donetsk and the US presidential elections. He focuses on Russian domestic policy, human rights and social problems. Despite ideological differences, he believes that even United Russia party members are human beings.

"Like art in general, cinema is a unique language that lets us talk even with our opponents. We can use it to explain that, in fact, we are all the same, whatever our peculiarities, interests and likes. All of us live, breathe and feel. All of us feel joy and sorrow, hatred and love. The most interesting thing is this conversation is conducted not through words, but on the level of feelings, the most accurate and powerful destroyer of stereotypes. May this non-verbal conversation keep on going. It is proof all of us are quite different and, at the same time, all the same."




Independent Journalist

Galina is a Petersburg journalist. Born in Leningrad, she has worked at radio stations, newspapers and news agencies in Leningrad/Petersburg. She currently works for the news website, as well as the Internet newspaper Winner of the Petersburg Human Rights Commissioner’s Special Prize for her contribution to the coverage of human rights issues, awarded at the 2015 Golden Pen competition for journalists working in Petersburg and Leningrad Region.

"Everyone has the right not to be lonely, to love and be loved. I am not talking about politics, but about the right and the desire to be close to someone else. Life is impossible with this right and desire. We cannot doubt whether another person has this right. That is why I support the LGBT movement. I think it is vital that different people realize you cannot encroach on anyone’s right not to be lonely in this world, to want love and warmth."


Independent Journalist

Fyodor, a journalist, was born in 1984 in Leningrad. A 2006 graduate of the St. Petersburg State University philosophy department, he has been writing about culture since 2002. He has worked for the newspapers Peterburgskii Chas Pik, Delovoi Peterburg, and Vechernii Peterburg, and the magazine Snob. Since 2011, he has been involved in social and political activism, in particular as an ally of the community in LGBT protests.

"I am extremely honored to be serving on the festival’s press jury. It is a double pleasure for me. First, Side by Side is about culture, and there are often loads of really talented films. Art and culture are what I write about and what I see, probably, as the justification for our existence on earth. Second, Side by Side deals with the problems and lives of LGBT people, and nowadays, especially in Russia, this is one of the most important and controversial issues. The problems of all minorities, which make up the majority, are important, but the fight for LGBT rights is, perhaps, the most visible and telling phenomenon. This is the principal dispute: whether we will build a life based on humanity and understanding or on some other grounds. When the personal and universal are connected, when the filmmaker’s freedom and current social issues come together, a genuine conversation between people is born from this synthesis. This is the best way to reach out to each other and realize we all stand side by side."