Written, directed, and filmed by Jonathan Taieb, Stand offers an intimate and personal look at the social stigma surrounding homosexuality in Russia, particularly after the country’s controversial 2013 legislation prohibiting the display or use of gay “propaganda.” The film follows Anton and his lover Vlad, who happen to drive past a gay man being beaten in the street. Anton wants to get out of the car and help, but Vlad prevents him from doing so. However, in the weeks that follow, Anton’s lack of action starts to agonize him.
Discovering the name of the man who was beaten (and ultimately murdered), Anton starts an independent investigation to uncover the murderer. Knowing the police will do nothing to seek justice for a homosexual, Anton feels it is his personal duty to find the killer. Vlad reluctantly joins the cause with the assistance of Katya, a journalism student and the daughter of Anton’s employer, Olga. Anton, Vlad, and Katya set up a series of sting operations to limited success.
Eventually Anton’s obsession with finding the murderer proves too much for his relationship and he and Vlad split apart. Katya returns to school, leaving Anton alone to continue his investigation. A friend of Katya, Andrey, agrees to help Anton complete his quest, which may prove more than Anton was hoping for.
“Springboarding off the current political situation in Russia, Stand is a hard-hitting examination of the physical and psychological effects of knowingly festering a culture of violence within a society.”
“There is not a single moment in this film where you don’t have an overhanging tinge of impending doom. You don’t feel happy, you feel mortified. Mortified that humans can behave the way they do, and oppress each other.”
— Renowned For Sound
“A careful reminder of how important it is that we stand together for equality.”
— Dave Croyle, Gay Essential
Did You Know?
Film director, writer, and cinematographer Jonathan Taieb shot every scene in Stand himself, working with a very small budget and a group of fresh actors. The sheer definition of independent filmmaking, Stand was actually the first feature film for the core group of actors. Unable to speak a word of Russian, Taieb filmed the all-Russian cast in Ukraine during the winter of 2013, filming entirely in secret given the nature of the story he was telling. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
Read our film review on Stand