Homophobes in Vladivostok, Russia have stirred up trouble against a Russian documentary called "Children 404," which shows how the nation's "gay propaganda" law is putting LGBT teens in harm's way.
And the homophobes are trying to use the "gay propaganda" law to silence the filmmakers.
The heartwrenching documentary -- shown Sept. 4 in San Diego and a handful of other U.S. cities -- was part of the Pacific Meridians film festival held Sept. 13-19 in Vladivostok, a far east city near Russia's border with China and North Korea.
Ken Williams, Editor in Chief of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News and the GLBT News Network, hosted a question-and-answer session after the San Diego screening at the Reading Town Square 14 Cinemas. The audience largely consisted of high school students from an Advance Placement history class led by a lesbian teacher. Williams said that no protesters were seen at the movie theater complex.
But in Vladivostok, a local television station known as the People's Patriotic Channel (PPC) decided to create a controversy over the documentary, directed by Askold Kurov and Pavel Loparev. The documentary has an 18-or-older rating, which is designed to prevent minors from seeing the movie so it would not violate the "gay propaganda" law that prevents a discussion of anything gay with children younger than 18.
PPC, however, claimed in an "investigative report" that it sent a minor girl to see the documentary and that she was sold a ticket without having her identification checked to determine her age. PPC declared that the festival violated the "gay propaganda" law.
Festival officials denied any wrong-doing and said that the PPC should instead be targeting the ticket seller at the movie theater.
“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 action by PPC is likely an attempt to silence the filmmakers, whose message is not one that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants his countrymen to hear, not the world.
The trouble-making by PPC is becoming typical under Putin's Russia, whose anti-gay policy-making is a smokescreen to foment anti-gay agitation in a homophobic nation to cover up myriad problems ranging from the illegal invasion of Crimea and Ukraine to the economic woes and rampant corruption in government.