Michael Lucas Speaks During Chicago Israel Week

CHICAGO — Lucas Entertainment chief Michael Lucas spoke about Israel’s LGBTQ scene at colleges throughout the Chicago area commemorating Israel’s Independence Day.

Lucas attended the Columbia College Chicago screening of his 2012 documentary, “Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land” where he addressed Israel’s progressive laws and attitudes toward the LGBTQ community.

Topics in the documentary include the evolution of legal rights, the openness of its military, the legalization of same-sex marriage and the city’s thriving LGBTQ culture.

“When they go to Israel, people will ask me ‘[should I] be afraid? Is it dangerous? Why are you there?’ and that’s why I decided to do this film, because people actually don’t know anything about Israel but the conflict with the Palestinians,” Lucas told the Columbia Chronicle.

The documentary was created out of a passion for the subject and not with the goal of making a profit, according to the studio head.

“It is so easy to make an adult movie,” Lucas said. “You put very little money into it, you make it in five days and then you make good money off it. You don’t make a documentary [to] make a profit because you will not be able to return money at all. I’ve never seen a dime from the Israeli documentary — I thought I would return 10 percent —but I went into it knowing this is my gift to Israel.”

Lucas noted that he wanted to show another side of Israel other than its inherent violence and political conflicts.

The filmmaker also noted that most LGBTQ film festivals — including those in Tel Aviv — would not screen his movie because of Israel’s negative image in the media, but said the film had a positive effect nevertheless.

“A lot of gay people went to Israel,” Lucas said. “I have so many people who emailed me and went on my social networks and told me that they were thankful for my film and after [watching] this movie they decided to go.”