The Kenya Film Classification Board on Friday banned lesbian love story Rafiki, the nation's first feature film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

Rafiki (friend in Swahili) revolves around two young women, each of whom is the daughter of a rival politician. As they fall in love, they must decide whether their relationship is worth the risk in Kenya where gay sex is a crime and violators face up to 14 years in prison.

Director Wanuri Kahiu told the AP that the ban is “limiting freedom expression of artists in the country and hence the growth of the industry.”

“I think that there are discerning audiences not only in Kenya but the entire world that are able to judge what's good and bad and it's not what's defined by the Kenya Film Classification Board,” she said.

The film board accused the filmmaker of having a “clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya contrary to the law.”

“It is our considered view that the moral of the story in this film is to legitimize lesbianism in Kenya,” the board said in a statement. “Any attempt to introduce and normalize homosexuality in Kenya flies in the face of the law and the constitution and must be resisted.”

Earlier this month, President Uhuru Kenyatta said during an appearance on CNN that gay rights are “not of any major importance” in Kenya and that its laws criminalizing gay sex are supported by 99 percent of Kenyans.

(Related: President Uhuru Kenyatta says gay rights are “of no importance” in Kenya.)

Rafiki is set to premiere next month at the Cannes Film Festival.