Russia: Film screening about gay teens accused of violating ‘gay propaganda’ laws

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Anti-gay activists in Russia have accused the screening of a documentary about gay teens of violating the country’s notorious law “gay propaganda” laws.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the controversy stirred after the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok was accused of selling tickets to the film Delti 404 (Children 404) without issuing proper ID checks.

Under the “gay propaganda” law – signed into law in June last year by President Vladimir Putin – only people over 18 can be allowed to a screening containing gay material.

A local television station, People’s Patriotic Channel, ran an investigation into the festival and claimed to have sent an under-age girl to buy a ticket and later said she had been let in without passing an ID check.

The film, directed by Askold Kurov and Pavel Loparev, follows the anonymous stories of 45 Russian teens who have been personally affected by Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

“I think this film is very useful because we are striving for a tolerant society in which people who are different can also exist,” Natalia Timofeyeva, programming director, told local news agency PrimaMedia.

The film’s title is a reference to a pro-LGBT page on the social networking site Vkontakte, which was accused last year of promoting “unconventional sexual relations among minors.”

Last April, a screening of the film in St Petersburg was disrupted by Orthodox Christian activists and police.

In September last year, Russian film critics commended the bravery of a film about two men falling in love after it was both approved release by the country’s culture ministry and awarded two prizes at separate film festivals.