Serving Mapleton, Illinois since 2022

Mapleton Mail

Art and Activism Collide in Jenna’s Journey



Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2024
Runtime: 1h 38m
Director(s): Agniia Galdanova
Where To Watch: opens in select theaters and on-demand June 14, 2024

RAVING REVIEW: From the frostbitten landscapes of Magadan Russia, QUEENDOM emerges as a riveting exploration of defiance and expression through the eyes of Jenna, a young, non-binary artist wielding creativity as a weapon against oppression. In this gritty, vividly captured documentary, director Agniia Galdanova follows Jenna through four transformative years that test the most profound meaning of expressing oneself and deepening one's commitment to art and activism. Amidst discarded artifacts and harsh realities, Jenna crafts breathtaking installations that challenge the societal norms of a homeland while advocating fervently for LGBTQIA+ rights against a world that is against you.

Jenna's journey, marked by provocative performances that blend the bizarre with the beautiful, invites danger and confrontation in a society resistant to change. These acts of bravery, captured with a stark realism that heightens their impact, showcase a resolve to reshape perceptions of beauty and identity. QUEENDOM is not just a film; it's a narrative battleground where art clashes with tradition, and personal stories fuel broader discussions on resistance and acceptance.

The film intricately portrays Jenna’s complex interactions with their grandparents in Magadan, balancing moments of affection against the backdrop of generational conflict. These tender yet tense exchanges underscore the personal stakes of Jenna’s public battles, adding emotional depth to the documentary. As Jenna navigates through hostile encounters—from being barred from public spaces to confronting prejudice in everyday settings—Galdanova’s lens captures each moment with a sensitivity that respects the subject’s raw courage and vulnerability.

QUEENDOM transcends the typical documentary format by weaving an arc of collective defiance against authoritarianism alongside Jenna’s saga. The narrative extends beyond individual experiences to touch on the shared struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community in Russia, highlighted by Jenna’s visually arresting acts of defiance, like wrapping up in barbed wire or staging protests against geopolitical conflicts.

Under Galdanova’s direction, the film becomes a powerful meditation on the intersection of art and activism, urging viewers to reconsider their roles in challenging oppression. The director's insights, shaped by her experiences and mentorship under Marina Razbezhkina, infuse the film with a profound understanding of the transformative power of storytelling.

In QUEENDOM, each frame is a canvas (quite literally) showcasing the stark reality and unyielding courage of a community under siege. The film dives deeper into the implications of Jenna’s activism, shedding light on the diverse experiences within the LGBTQIA+ community in Russia. Through candid interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, Galdanova helps to enrich the narrative, providing a voice to those often silenced. This enhances the film’s texture, offering a more comprehensive view of the challenges and triumphs encountered by Jenna and those living similar lives. It's a compelling addition that underscores the documentary’s commitment to authenticity and depth, further highlighting the significant role of art in both personal liberation and public discourse.

QUEENDOM ultimately serves as a potent reminder of the enduring strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of art. It is a call to action, a beacon for change, and a testament to the courage to live and speak truth to power. Through Jenna’s artistic journey, the film documents a fight for acceptance and change and celebrates the indomitable will to make art that matters in the face of adversity.

Please visit for more reviews.

You can follow me on Letterboxd, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also find my social media accounts on most platforms by searching Overly Honest Movie Reviews.

I’m always happy to hear from my readers; please say hi or send me any questions about movies.


At Overly Honest Movie Reviews, we value honesty and transparency. Occasionally, we receive free items for review, including DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, Vinyl, Books, etc. We assure you that these arrangements do not influence our reviews, as we are committed to providing unbiased and sincere evaluations. We aim to help you make informed entertainment choices, regardless of our relationship with distributors or producers.

Amazon Affiliate Links:
Additionally, this site contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we may receive a commission. This affiliate arrangement does not affect our commitment to honest reviews and helps support our site. We appreciate your trust and support in navigating these links.

Chris Jones
Entertainment Editor

Chris Jones is the Mail Entertainment Editor covering Movies and Television topics. He is from Washington, Illinois, and is the owner, writer, and editor of Overly Honest Reviews.