Cinema chain asked to cancel Israeli film fest

A group of British filmmakers and actors called on a British movie theater chain to cancel an Israeli film festival, but their request was rejected.

In an open letter published June 8 in the British daily the Guardian, 39 members of the film industry, including British directors Aki Kaurismäki, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, asked Curzon Cinemas to refuse to host the London Israeli Film and Television Festival, was set to open June 11.

“This festival comes in the aftermath of the wanton destruction and killing in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military in 2014, and the re-election of an Israeli prime minister who denies Palestinians their equal rights and self-determination,” the letter read in part. “The festival is co-sponsored by the Israeli government via the Israeli embassy in London, creating a direct link between these cinemas, the festival screenings and Israeli policies.”

In a statement to the Guardian, Curzon Cinemas said that it “hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Human Rights Watch film festival, the London film festival and festivals representing regions from around the world.

“We have not previously considered asking questions about the funding of a festival booked at one of our cinemas, and we do not consider booking a festival as any kind of political comment.” — jta


Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.