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Elefeet on film: Q & A with Kosta Karakashyan

Date published
Tuesday 18 May 2021

We spoke today with Kosta Karakashyan, director and choreographer behind the powerful dance film Waiting for Color

Why choose dance as a medium to portray LGBTQ+ persecution in the Chechen region of Russia?
Dance has the power to evoke powerful, visceral emotions in the audience. I remember first reading about the horrific stories from Chechnya in 2017, and I felt powerless but also aware that soon it would get lost in the traditional news cycle. I wanted to create something that would leave more of a lasting impression on the audience in order to make them more compassionate with the stories coming from Chechnya. As an artist, I am most equipped to communicate through dance and film, so it was the natural choice for me.

How would you describe the current situation for LGBTQ+ people there now? Has an investigation started?
Since the release of my film, more and more artists and activists have come forward to condemn these crimes. Last year David France released the documentary 'Welcome to Chechnya', in which I was one of the activists serving as face doubles for the real victims. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a German NGO, and the Russian LGBT Network have started a legal case against government officials in Chechnya, so we are hopeful there will be some progress soon!

What do you want Waiting for Color to achieve?
I want everyone who watches the film to take a moment and reflect on how they can help support the LGBTQ+ community in their everyday lives. Even in the most accepting of societies, there is still homophobia and transphobia, so it is up to all of us to create a more inclusive space for anyone who feels scared to be themselves.