Welcome to Chechnya

Welcome To Chechnya Film still


2020 Season
New York digital edition
Thank you to everyone who joined our digital film festival screening + live Q&A on June 11. You can still watch the film at your own pace until June 20, and view the recording of the Q&A with filmmaker David France, author, journalist, & columnist at The New Yorker Masha Gessen, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia Associate Director Tanya Lokshina, and HRW’s LGBT Program Director Graeme Reid. here on our Facebook page.  

Film description: This searing documentary, directed by acclaimed writer and Oscar® nominated director David France (How to Survive a Plague, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson), shadows a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ campaign in the Russian Republic of Chechnya. Employing a guerilla filmmaking style, France takes us inside the fraught, day-to-day workings of an underground pipeline of activists facing incredible risks to rescue victims from this brutal government-directed campaign. Through unfettered access, and with a commitment to protecting anonymity, this documentary exposes these underreported atrocities, while highlighting an extraordinary group of people.

"Welcome to Chechnya stands as a stark reminder of what human beings are capable of doing and why we need human rights protections. It is also a tribute to the courage of strangers." -Graeme Reid, Director, LGBT Rights Program, Human Rights Watch

Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films

Winner, U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing, Sundance Film Festival, 2020
Winner, Panorama Publikumspreis (Audience Award) for Best Documentary, the Teddy Activist Award and the Special Jury Amnesty International Film Award at Berlinale, 2020


Photo Courtesy HBO 

David France
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
David France

DAVID FRANCE, Director, is an Oscar®nominated filmmaker, bestselling author, and award-winning investigative journalist. His directorial debut, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, is hailed as an innovative and influential piece of storytelling and is regularly screened in university classrooms, and bycommunity groups and AIDS service organizations. Appearing on over 20 “Best of the Year” lists, including Time and Entertainment Weekly, the documentary earned a GLAAD Award and top honors from the Gotham Awards, the International Documentary Association,the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the Provincetown Film Festival, among many others. HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE also garnered Oscar®and Emmy®nominations and a Peabody Award. His 2017 film, THE DEATH & LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON,received rave reviews and won numerous festival prizesincluding the Outfest “Freedom Award” and special jury recognition from Sheffield International Documentary Festival. David’s latest book, also titled HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE (Knopf, 2016),received multiple awards including the Baillie Gifford Prize for best nonfiction book published in the English Language, and was named by Entertainment Weekly, Slate, and LitHub as one of the top books of the 2010s. In addition, France has seen his journalistic work inspire several films, including the Peabody-winning Showtime film SOLDIER’S GIRL, based on his New York Times Magazine story of the transgender girlfriend of a soldier killed in an anti-gay attack.