After our stops in Hamburg, Budapest and Philadelphia we met in Warsaw for EuroPride last week. It was great to share the film with so many of the folks we met there while filming in 2008, including the ever lovable Clare who was also presented an award by the EuroPride team for all her work at Prides in Eastern and Central Europe. After the screening we had a great Q&A and it was nice to hear the positive reactions from the local Polish community. One person described the experience as “surreal” seeing their relatively small march on the big screen with larger events like Sao Paulo, NYC and Toronto. 2008 was only the second legal parade in Warsaw and it is remarkable how quickly they have moved things forward there.
Even more exciting for us was to march in the EuroPride parade a few days later. What a difference from two years ago. About 8,000 more marchers, more floats and the best thing of all, spectators along the route cheering us on! It was very special, particularly for the locals to see that support. It wasn’t all disco and rainbows of course, with the extra press that EuroPride brought, it also brought out even more counter-demonstrators and there were a few firebombs, eggs and a few other goodies lobbed in our direction. It was a little unnerving but as before the 2000+ military police actually made us feel very safe. I have to give real credit to their professionalism, and did they ever come down hard on anyone who tried to disrupt the parade.
We’ve got a lot more photos posted on our facebook page and our friends at the the Walk With Pride Project also have an awesome collection. If you haven’t seen what Chad & Sara are doing, you should definitely check out their site.
It was a great trip but it sure is great to be home. It’s nice to see change happening in Poland, but once again we were reminded how fortunate we are to live in Canada. And now we look forward to our next screening – right here at home, Vancouver Pride Movie Night, July 29th. If you haven’t gone Beyond Gay yet, now is your chance. Hope to see you there!