Directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller
WINNER, Documentary Short Award at SXSW 2017. Struggling to survive in the USSR during the turbulent years of Perestroika, Elena and her young gay son escape into the world of pirated American movies. But soon the movies are not enough and Elena decides to become a mail-order-bride and discover America for herself. Saving its most unexpected twist till the end, this is an inspiring and timely story of two immigrants’ take on the American Dream.
I first shared some of my story publicly in the Huffington Post essay titled Growing Up Gay in Russia. The article went viral and got translated into other languages including, ironically, Russian. What I realized after getting an outpouring of personal responses from people all over the world is that life in Russia, especially for gay people, is still very much a mystery to the rest of the world. Now more than ever the story is relevant with its themes of immigrants’ quest for American Dream, government corruption, social oppression, Russia-US politics, violence against women, and gay/trans rights. But despite the heavy subject matter, the story of my mom and I coming to America is as hopeful and positive as any Hollywood happy ending.