Winner 2020

Welcome to Chechnya

Public Square Films, Ninety Thousand Words, Maylo Films, BBC Storyville and HBO Documentary Films

Filmed in secret with the use of hidden cameras and cell phones, Welcome to Chechnya follows a group of undercover activists who risk their own safety to expose the brutal ongoing purge of LGBTQ Chechens in the closed Russian republic that remains under the tyrannical rule of Ramzam Kadryov. Directed by David France and produced by Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, and Askold Kurov, the documentary confronts a government-directed system of abduction, torture, and execution that has received scant attention from the Russian Federation or from international watchdog agencies. The filmmakers trace the indefatigable efforts of activists who deliver rescued victims to safe houses and provide visa assistance for their refuge. In the process, the film employs innovative techniques of artificial intelligence and facial replacement visual effects to protect the identities of the subjects while allowing viewers to see authentic facial features, expressions, and emotions. For a powerful, harrowing story of ruthless persecution, audacious courage, and human survival, Welcome to Chechnya wins a Peabody Award.


Creators:  David France, Joy A. Tomchin.  Executive Producers: Joy A. Tomchin, Neal Baer, Kevin Jennings, Masha Gessen, Jonathan Logan, Jess Search, Lekha Singh, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alan Getz, Justin Mikita, Stan Tomchin, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller.  Co-Executive Producers:  Jon Murray, Harvey Reese, Ted Snowdon, Duffy Violante.  Producers:  Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, Askold Kurov, David France.  Co-Producers: Igor Myakotin, Tyler H. Walk, Bertha Doc Society, James Costa, Kenneth B. Mehlman, The Palette Fund, Andrew Tobias.  Associate Producers: Katya Kumkova, Dan Silver.  Director:  David France.  Writers:  David France, Tyler H. Walk.  Editor:  Tyler H. Walk.  Cinematography:  Askold Kurov, Derek Wiesehahn.  Music:  Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine.