Russia’s recent anti-LGBT laws have been making headlines since their implementation in June 2013, and groups all over the world have been speaking out about it—but what’s it really like to live there right now? Filmmaker Michael Lucas is working on a documentary to show the world that Russia’s LGBT community is in danger, and he needs some help; to that end, he has a fundraiser on Kickstarter.
The Moscow native, currently a resident of New York, founded the movie studio Lucas Entertainment (not to be confused with Lucas Arts) in 1998, just a year after moving to the United States. The company is well-known for its gay adult films, but the titles produced are also noteworthy for their production quality and cinematography. Lucas himself also regularly contributes editorial pieces to a variety of news publications, where he has made a name for himself as a controversial but passionate activist.
To get the real story for “Campaign of Evil: Russia and Gay Propaganda,” he traveled back to his former homeland with a film crew and conducted interviews with a variety of locals—diplomats, journalists, teachers, activists, people on the street—of multiple genders and orientations.
On his Kickstarter project page, Lucas explains, “Since growing up as a confused gay child in the former Soviet Union, it has been my dream to show the world a vision of what it is like to be a member of the LGBT community in my former homeland.
“As most of the world moves forward toward gay equality, Russia is seemingly heading backward. Antigay sentiment and legislation are spreading rapidly throughout the country. […] The Kremlin has chosen the LGBT community as its scapegoat in a populist campaign against supposedly decadent ‘Western’ values, and there are ominous signs of much worse to come. Violent attacks against Russian gays or suspected gays are more and more common. Videos of young LGBT people being taunted and tortured have been widely distributed on the Internet.
“Those are the stories that get the headlines, but there is much more to the Russian LGBT men and woman I have met. It is my hope that this documentary will educate viewers to their reality.”
Filming of the documentary is nearly complete, but editing and post-production isn’t cheap; the campaign, which started on October 30, is aiming for an ambitious $70,000 by December 29. Rewards for backers range from a copy of Lucas’ first documentary, “Undressing Israel: Gay Men In The Promised Land,” in exchange for a $50 donation, to a private thank-you dinner with Lucas for a $1,500 donation.
Lucas told 429Magazine, “Over the past year there has been considerable attention to the worsening dangers faced by LGBT people in Putin’s Russia. Lately that story has become less prominent; the restless news cycle is always looking to ‘move on.’ But gays and lesbians do not have that option. They are stuck there, and it is our obligation to keep watching, to keep filming, and to keep pressuring Russia in any way we can to ensure the ongoing safety of LGBT people there. I hope that my movie can be part of that process.”
The project’s Kickstarter campaign page can be found here.