Bomb threat at screening Matterhorn Russia
The screening of the Dutch film, Matterhorn, on a gay film festival in St. Petersburg, started hours later on Thursday, because the organization received a bomb threat, reported cameraman Dennis Wielaert, who attended the show.The bomb threat came in fifteen minutes before the start, according to Wielaert. The entire shopping mall was evacuated, while police searched the area, using sniffer dogs.
Director Diederik Ebbinge, who was also invited, declined for several reasons. Ebbinge has won several prizes in Moscow, and heard the jury wanted to nominate him for a prize again, but they feared it might be politically sensitive. With the recent events in Russia against gays, the director feared for his safety.
Ebbinge consulted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who shared his concern. Even though he finds it exciting to experience first hand, the impact the movie has, he is a filmmaker, not an activist, according to the director.
Matterhorn also recently won an award at the Gay Festival of Madrid. Ebbinge is pleased that the gay community adopted the film, especially since it's about liberation.
Prior to the screening, there were posters placed in the cinema with anti-gay slogans.
Two hours after the bomb threat, the police declared the building safe, and the screening became a fact. The viewers responded very positively and by the time Ton Kas and René van 't Hof ran to the church as bride and groom, in the rain, the audience burst into applause. It gave Wielaert goosebumps, and he received many compliments from happy people.
After the screening, the cameraman and other invited guests returned to their hotel under police.
Matterhorn tells the story of two men in a small Christian community, among whom a special friendship grows. The lonely Fred (Kas) decides one day to take a stranger, (Van 't Hof), into his home. The coexistence of the two men leads to much commotion in the conservative rural community where Fred lives.
The film will soon be released in U.S. cinemas.