Olya's Love

A gentle awakening. The young Galiya has fallen asleep on the sofa; her eyes first open from the laugh of a woman’s voice and a loving touch. Galiya and Olya now stand before the clothes closet in their small, Moscow apartment and ponder what to wear for the demonstration that they are about to go to. The two have been a couple for two years; they openly declare their love and participate regularly in marches and gatherings protesting Russia’s anti-homosexual laws. Whereas Galiya, who is from the Ural, tends to keep more in the background, the Moscow native Olya is the driving force, in more than just their romantic relationship. Olya is an active member of the LGBT-movement, gives speeches, organizes events—and wants to demonstrate her love to Galiya with their own child.

In his documentary snapshot, Olya's Love , Kirill Sakharnov accompanies his two protagonists through their everyday life, which is determined mainly by the events on the streets of Moscow and conversations at home. What strongly characterizes this film is its clever overlapping of private and public, especially within the context of a restrictive social system: to what extent are the freedoms that one fights for everyday, also possible in one’s relationship? When during a demonstration a battling Olya persists in talking to a policeman who remains silent, then her voice seems to collide against Putin’s state apparatus; but still, she makes her voice heard. And she knows that for the path to true democracy, as well as to her own happiness, every step counts, literally.
Olya's Love is an intimate film that prefers close-ups to a big overview. A film that moves at the tempo of its protagonists, and also hands over the camera to them at times; one that acts quickly in order to react. Mainly, however, it is a film about love in the time of resistance.
(Michael Pekler)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Orig. Title
Olya's Love
Austria, Russia
68 min
Kirill Sakharnov
Orig. Language
Olya's Love (Image)
Olya's Love (Image)
Olya's Love (Image)
Kirill Sakharnov
Kirill Sakharnov, Ksenia Sakharnova
Kirill Sakharnov, Max Kliewer
SugarDocs film production, Soleil Film , Ethnogeographic Research Foundation (Ethnofund)
Executive Producer
Vladislav Ketkovich, Ksenia Sakharnova, Filip Malinowski, Jürgen Karasek
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Festivals (Selection)
Amsterdam - IDFA, Int. Documentary Filmfestival
Wien - this human world International Human Rights Film Festival
ArtDoc Festival, Moskau/Moscow
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
San Francisco - frameline L&G Film Festival
Bologna - Biografilm Festival
Boston - LGBT Filmfestival
Jihlava - East Silver Market
Barcelona/Paris/NY - Human Rights Film Festival
Tirana - Human Rights Film Festival