Pussy Riot Film Appears At Sundance

Freed Pussy Riot member Katya appeared via Skype for a Q&A session to talk about how many Russians frown upon their actions, and why they'll never sell any music.

Ultimate Guitar

The documentary film about Pussy Riot has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Freed Pussy Riot member Katya Samutsevich was greeted with cheers when she appeared on a Skype call during the film's Q&A session, and revealed their perspective of events after the band imprisoned for performing a punk protest in a cathedral.

What do their native Russians think of their actions? Katya says most people frown upon the protest, but only because the media presented it as a religious act of hooliganism.

"The feminist and political aspect of our performance has been largely ignored, and this points to the larger problem of cultural education, that people don't understand it as a piece of art," she said.

Katya, who was freed on appeal unlike two of her bandmates who remain in jail, said this probably won't be their last brush with the law: "We're probably on several blacklists and extremism lists, and it may be that in the future when we continue to do performances, they will try to press criminal charges for smaller things, smaller actions."

For now, Katya continues the battle to free the remaining bandmates Nadya and Masha. The little public support they did have in Russia is waning because of the "repressive" means used by authorities before, which gives people less drive to protest in the street.

Will Pussy Riot use their fame to launch an official album release when they are all free in the future?

"No, we reject commercialism of any sort, and we have no plans to release anything commercial," she defiantly said. "We will never commodify our art."

Which is ironic, because as Sundance proves, others have.

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    Pussy Riot has balls. We live in places where you can say anything you want and remain free. They live in a place where you say the wrong thing and you wind up in a work camp for 3 years. We don't risk our freedom by speaking out, Pussy Riot does. The quality of their music's not the point, it's just a framework to get their message across. That's one of the reasons music is so great, it's a medium to express anything including protest (CCR: Fortunate Son, Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen, Frank Zappa: I Don't Wanna get Drafted, etc... I'll say it again, Pussy Riot has balls.
    > They live in a place where you say the wrong thing and you wind up in a work camp for 3 years WUT? I live in that place too, tell me, what's happening here.
    Really? Posting anti-government or anti-religion opinions gets you thrown in a labor camp? What country do you live in?
    I've said before - I live in the country, where all the shit around these hoes took action. I live in Russia. It's pretty funny, everyone says 'oh, guys, they just throw innocent girls into jail...' or 'in Russia you can be arrested for any action...'. C'mon, do you really believe that? I think, 'the innocent girls' got what they deserved. It's not forbidden to shit into your neigbour's garden, but no one does that. It's just a matter of culture. If a person has no sense of culture, it should be isolated from the society. Notice, this is not their first performance. http://plucer.livejournal.com/55710.html A bit of tranlation for you - this is an orgy in a museum. If you think it's alright, there is no reason to chat anymore.
    My apologies KVX-madman, I completely misinterpreted your response. I thought you were a US citizen of the right-wing-Mustaine-Nugent variety claiming we live in the nazi states of America and have no freedom of speech. This opinion is common these days and I was reacting to that. My bad. Since that's cleared up...I'm curious...I've always believed that speaking out against the institutions of church or state could get you arrested in Russia. Am I wrong? If so, when did that change? I mean, it certainly was true under Stalin and his ilk.
    Well, it's over 20 years since Russia is no longer a part of the USSR. I mean, man, this has changed over 20 years ago and you still think you would get arrested for speaking out against government. FFS, Stalin died 60 years ago.
    Stalin may have died 60 years ago but there are still plenty of countries today where speaking out can get you imprisoned, beaten in the town square, your hands chopped off, or worse.
    But we are talking about Russia, right?
    Yes, my point was just because Stalin died 60 years ago doesn't mean the world hasn't seen equally tyrannical leaders since then. Weren't Khrushchev and those that followed him as "iron fisted" as Stalin? The KGB wasn't disbanded until 1991, weren't they as active leading up to that as they were under Stalin? I guess my question is, when did the Soviet Union begin to allow public dissension?
    It's amazing how they're portrayed. Pussy Riot was doing a lot of other things than just protesting. For instance they held an orgy out in public. That would get you arrested in America for indecent exposure as well other things. While freedom of speech is certainly an issue in Russia, that's not what's going on specifically with Pussy Riot.
    Do you have any sources?
    Most people outside Russia obviously have no idea about their another 'piece of art' acts... Yeah, they had a group orgy in the museum, they drew a huge dick on the city bridge, vandalized buildings and monuments, or how about one of them put a chicken up to her vagina right in the supermarket? Just search this on the web, it also was even on youtube
    Great! A band whose music nobody ever cared about in the first place gets a documentary. It must be sad to know that they only have fame because they broke the law.
    You know, there is more to music than the "music" itself. The whole point of it is to express yourself and your views in the form of art. Becoming "famous" for something other than musical talent is an achievement, it shows that people are noticing them, whether they agree or disagree on the subject... they have successfully made their point because people are debating and taking notice of it. Depending on whether they broke the law or not, is in the eye of the beholder... many laws are made to be broken and they only exist to stop people from expressing their own personal views.
    There is no music in their actions. So I don't even know, why UG posts news about them.
    Pfft, guys, I am russian and, trust me, everyone forgot about Pussy Riot like 5 months ago, but you still discuss this and what happened to them. That's a bit awkard.
    Considering how anti-putin they are, is it really a surprise he and his crew might do everything they can to make sure they don't get much attention in Russia?
    If he really wanted to prevent them getting too much attention, he would do it better. Putin's clan can conspirate any information, but that was clearly not the case. The TV and press were literally screaming with it. It even seemed that mass media exaggerated the whole situation. The reason is simple. Everyone was tired of talking about these girls. And by the way, they are not anti-putin. They are just stupid girls who want to get attention of the public. Read above posts about them having an orgy in a museum etc etc
    Obviously we're both speculating, I'm just saying it's an alternative. They are definitively anti-putin, but didn't imply that's what they're primarily about. I'm not defending what they're doing, btw, just exploring some thoughts.
    They did not deserve the sentence, but they do not deserve a documentary or the attention they got either. You'd think there would be more pressing issues than gratifying attention *****s in Russia, and yes, that's what they are. I fully support their freedom to do stupid shit, but deliberately insulting people in their own church for the sake of attention is insulting to their "cause", hypocrisy at its' best.
    They were protesting the church's support of an authoritarian government using their own form of self expression, not doing it for attention. You should try to read a bit more into this issue before making ridiculous comments that aren't based in reality whatsoever.
    That's a very naive point of view, "their own form of self expression" isn't something that a lot of people would consider an appropriate strategy to get a message across which at its' basis might have some scrutiny, but when combined with the presentation clearly suggests that they're in for the shock value. How can you suggest that they are not doing it for attention? You can certainly see that their strategy draws little attention to their "cause" while putting the band itself into the spotlight.
    Their own form of self expression is the best way these girls knew how to get their point across. How else are you to express your message if not through your own self expression? They had a voice, they had a message against the authoritarian government and the church that supports it, and they used their voice to express their message. And they were thrown into jail for it. I think instead of "while putting the band itself into the spotlight", it would be more accurate to say "while putting the band itself into jail", don't you think?
    perhaps, but by going to jail, they put themselves in the spotlight, so it can still be inferred that they were doing this for attention. however, there is still a good possibility that they were actually doing this for a reason.
    Danjo's Guitar
    I agree actually, well about the church part. I would be on their side about everything, except that it sounds to me like they just went into the church and started playing some (probably terrible) punk music. That sounds really disrespectful to me. The best way to get respect isn't to disrespect other people.
    Their bullsh*t was about Putin and the corruption. Seems a good idea to go to a church and protest there. Yeah. Man, how stupid are people? It's just the same as with the Muhammed cartoons. What did these lunatics except to happen when you insult someone under the appearance of "FREEDUM HURR DURR"? >implying cold war isn't still going on
    They were protesting the Orthodox Church's support of the government. They were protesting the Church. Read the ****ing story before you make comments.
    Danjo's Guitar
    They could have protested the church outside, where its an actual protest. Its like the difference between protesting in the streets of washington, or just barging into the Senate with drums and crap. Even here they aren't going to let you do the second one.
    They didnt play in church. They just wrote music over video later. They just did a look that they play. And got prisoned for 2 years.