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Since his student years Yevgeny Lazarenko has been equally involved in journalism and the music world. Working as a presenter and correspondent for TV channels in Saint Petersburg, he also performs and records albums with the group Multfilmy. He worked his way up from a freelance contributor to chief editor of Time Out -  Saint Petersburg. He also set up the Neon Lights project, for which he has been nominated for the Sobaka magazine’s “Top-50” prize, awarded to “The most influential people in Saint Petersburg”.

“When I started working for the Time Out - Saint Petersburg magazine it still contained a gay and lesbian section, including book reviews, notices of events, shows and film festivals (including Side by Side). The section was transferred to the local project from the London publication of that name. It became clear from our authors’ work that the LGBT community in Saint Petersburg was very lively and of interest to anyone, no matter what their sexual orientation. As we know, it could not last long. Under the pressure of intolerance, the section itself was closed and the material moved to other parts of the magazine. Soon Time Out itself ceased to appear in Saint Petersburg.

What we were unable to achieve, the Side by Side Film Festival has achieved. And I’d like to express profound respect for the organisers who continue to establish a dialogue where, it would seem, it is already impossible. It is a great honour, of course, for me to stand side by side with you in this cause.”


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