The team behind the 2008 feature film Milk was on hand at its screening at the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Milk is based on the life of gay activist Harvey Milk, who in 1978 was fighting a draconian Anita Bryant-backed measure – the Briggs Initiative – that sought to expel gay and lesbian teachers from California schools. Milk, the first openly gay politician in the U.S., fought back against the measure and won, but his victory was short lived. Twenty days after voters rejected the Briggs Initiative, Milk was assassinated by a disgruntled former city commissioner, Mike White.

The film's director, Gus Van Sant, screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, and producer, Bruce Cohen, attended the festival to show solidarity with Russia's LGBT community.

The festival, which ended November 30, was disrupted by 5 bomb threats over the course of 9 days.

Wilson Cruz, a spokesman for GLAAD, which helped organize the appearances, said in a written statement: “So many films Bruce, Lance and Gus have worked on sparked real change in the United States, and I am proud that they represented our industry as ambassadors of hope to the Side by Side Film Festival. Despite threats of violence, the organizers of the festival have found a powerful way to reach LGBT Russians and allies with images that can fuel change, and we join LGBT people around the world in thanking them for their work and courage.”