Next month's Amfest will screen the
film I Am Michael, which stars James Franco as a gay man who
renounces his sexuality.
The festival, which runs September
16-27 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy
In 2013, Russia banned the promotion of
“gay propaganda” to minors. The controversial law makes the
depiction of positive portrayals of LGBT people illegal.
President Barack Obama has previously
criticized the law.
Hollywood Reporter called the upcoming screening of I Am
Michael “as much of a political as an artistic decision on the
part of Amfest organizers and backers.”
In the film, which premiered to
positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, Franco plays
controversial publisher and former gay rights advocate Michael
Glatze, who in 2004 launched Young Gay America Magazine with
the help of his former boyfriend (played by out actor Zachary
Quinto). Three years later, Glatze publicly announced that he no
longer identified as gay and pledged to fight against gay rights.