Trailer, Poster Released for Gay Film That Provoked Violent Protests


A new trailer and poster have been released for the upcoming U.S. premiere of And Then We Danced, a queer coming-of-age romance set in Georgia amid the masculine world of traditional Georgian ballet.

And Then We Danced, written and directed by out filmmaker Levan Akin, is being touted as the conservative Eastern European nation’s first explicitly gay-themed film.

The movie “follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble,” according to an official synopsis. “The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli—gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak—throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family.”

And Then We Danced had its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival and will screen next month at Sundance. It was Sweden’s official entry for Best International Feature at the Academy Awards but did not make the short list. (While Akin is of Georgian heritage, he grew up in Stockholm.)

As NewNowNext previously reported, police arrested more than 25 people last month after violent protests erupted at premiere screenings in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city, where the movie was filmed guerrilla-style.

Hundreds of far-right nationalists and Georgian Orthodox Church members, some holding crosses and other religious paraphernalia, demonstrated outside the theater in an attempt to discourage moviegoers. Other demonstrators, who shouted chants like “Long live Georgia” and “Shame,” set fire to a rainbow flag. Two police officers and a woman trying to attend a screening were injured.

“I feel so much pride that none of the theaters backed down or cancelled any of the scheduled and sold out screenings, but stood in solidarity with the it,” Akin wrote on social media. “The Georgian audience finally got to see the film! This fight is far from over and I am so inspired and moved by all the brave movie goers who stood their ground and would not be intimidated.”

Akin did not screen And Then We Danced earlier this month at the Tbilisi International Film Festival. “With the situation as it is now, I don’t think it would be good to show it in any festivals in Georgia—it would go crazy again,” he explained. “At least we were able to screen it for three days [in November], but no more than that, unfortunately.”

Vano Shlamov/AFP via Getty Images

While LGBTQ people are protected by Georgia’s anti-discrimination laws, they still face harassment, discrimination, and violence. A constitutional amendment signed in 2017 defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Georgia is majority-Christian, and the Georgian Orthodox Church—an ultra-conservative, centuries-old Christian denomination with millions of members worldwide—is vehemently anti-gay.

Music Box Pictures will release And Then We Danced February 7, 2020, in U.S. theaters.

Watch the new trailer below.

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