James Franco's 'I Am Michael,' Based on True Story of Pastor Who Renounced Homosexuality, to Screen at Russian LGBT Fest

Courtesy of Sundance International Film Festival
'I Am Michael'

The hot-button title, which premiered at Sundance, also stars Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts.

Hot-button movie I Am Michael, starring James Franco as a gay activist and magazine founder who is "saved" from his homosexuality after turning to God and becomes a Christian pastor, will be featured at the Russian LGBT festival Bok o Bok (Side by Side) next month.

The film, which is based on a true story, also stars Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts and is executive produced by Gus Van Sant. Director Justin Kelly is expected to attend the event and introduce the movie, which premiered at Sundance.

Scheduled to run Nov. 19-28, the festival will open with a screening of Peter Greenaway's Eisenstein in Guanajuato, a biopic on renowned Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, focused on his trip to Mexico in the 1930s.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato, which premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February, stirred some controversy in Russia as it was denied state funding due to the film depicting an alleged homosexual affair between Eisenstein and a Mexican guide. A general Russian release of the movie is scheduled for December.

In the past, the festival has often experienced pressure from authorities and anti-homosexual activists. Two years ago, it was fined as a "foreign agent," and that year's edition, which followed the adoption of a controversial anti-gay law, faced screening disruptions. Palme d'Or-winning film Blue Is the Warmest Color was specifically targeted.