ISRAEL—Michael Lucas thinks he has been such a boon to tourism in Israel that he told The Times of Israel, “I think they should put a monument to me somewhere.” The joke may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it certainly reflects this gay porn icon’s serious embrace of Israel, which he has demonstrated not only in his decision to become an Israeli citizen but also in his mainstream documentary titled Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land, which screened at the just-concluding 8th annual Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival.
Undressing Israel didn’t take home an award this year, but Lucas, who is no stranger to controversy, takes the film’s uneven acceptance around the globe in stride, telling the Times that “his views on Israel have only been strengthened by the response to his film, which has been warmly welcomed by Jewish film festivals around the globe, but mostly ignored by festivals specifically catering to gay-centric films. The film played the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood; the Out in the Desert fest in Tucson, Arizona; and fests in Poland and Germany. But in much of Europe, Lucas says, it was not just rejected. It was shunned.”
He added, “It’s a positive portrayal of something that has to do with Israel. If you want your movie to be accepted, you have to make a movie that criticizes Israel.” That is not something he is willing to do.
Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land—which the Times says is “nearly identical to Men of Israel, Lucas’s landmark pornographic film that made history by being the first-ever adult film shot on location in Israel"—will be screened at festivals in Brooklyn and Norway later this summer.
“Lucas is hoping to get it into American movie theaters by August,” the article states. “He made the film with his own money, investing roughly $100,000 of his funds in its production, but is less concerned about making a profit than he is about combating anti-Israel sentiment.”
Photo: Michael Lucas in Israel, courtesy of Lucas Entertainment