Logan Mucha is a young Australian documentary film-maker who spent several months last year in Eastern Europe filming his first feature-length documentary, East Bloc Love. He writes about his experiences, mainly in Belarus. East Bloc Love is now finished and us due for release after screenings at LGBT film festivals.
I’m gay, have a boyfriend and live in a country where a lot of LGBT people my age consider defending their rights secondary to going out and picking up.
It’s these sentiments that drove me to begin developing East Bloc Love, which has turned into something bigger than I ever imagined.
This is not to say that I never had ambitions for the film, however the journey in making East Bloc Love a reality has been as much an exploration of gay rights in other countries, as it has a personal exploration of my sexuality and its meaning to me.
After a fascinating visit to some parts of Eastern Europe several years ago, I felt compelled to return and explore the situation for the LGBT community across the former Soviet Bloc. I returned with a camera, a couple of microphones, and a very flexible concept for a film.
I began by living with a gay couple for three weeks in Latvia, where I quickly discovered the less than accommodating forces developing in response to an increasingly visible LGBT presence.
Let’s call these ‘forces’ more like remaining sentiments from the Soviet occupation, such as a strong religious presence, and a fear of losing national identify from the omnipresent ‘West’. It pushed me to explore deeper in my interviews and research however, it wasn’t until I went to Belarus that I realised this was the beginning of something much bigger.
I flew into Belarus? capital Minsk with my boyfriend, after some cryptic e-mailing with the unregistered and ‘illegal’ LGBT organisation GayBelarus. After unpacking in a glorious Soviet-era apartment block, I jumped into a taxi and handed the driver an address written in Cyrillic.