Numerous filmmakers have expressed outage at the Jerusalem Film Festival's decision to succumb to Culture Minister Miri Regev's "threats" and cancel a screening of a documentary profiling Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin's assassin.
According to Haaretz, film critic Gidi Orsher wrote on his Facebook page that: “Lia Van Leer [the festival’s founder and manager], who recently passed away, would have told Miri Regev to go to hell, but the current festival’s directors are obviously made of different stuff."
"Therefore, Israeli film and documentary directors, if you have a shred of respect for this profession, for culture, for Lia Van Leer and for morality – remove your films from this ridiculous competition lest you catch this contagious disease of apathy."
"Making excuses and giving explanations later, while trying to fix things, will be too late," he stressed.
“Since when do we disqualify a movie because of its content, expressing opinions without seeing it? Even a movie about an extreme right wing villain, produced by an artist, is worthy at least of being shown and watched," Orsher added.
Director Uri Rosenwaks also condemned the decision, urging other filmmakers to "withdraw their work due to the blatant intervention in the program by Regev, and because of her threats to the festival’s management.”
Rosenwaks asserted that Regev doesn't have the authority to threaten or to cut financing to art projects she deems unsuitable.
"This is a critical juncture for Israeli culture, which should have the role of posing challenges and fostering debates. Otherwise we’ll be left with only ‘Big Brother.' A strong society can handle such a movie as well as a play based on a Palestinian murderer’s life.”
Rosenwaks is referring to the ongoing saga surrounding the Al Midan Theater in Haifa, which recently had government funding withdrawn over performances of a play based on the life of a Palestinian terrorist.
While "Beyond the Fear" may not be screened at the Festival itself, according to the official compromise between Regev and the Festival's directors, it will be screened at an outside location, and the film will remain a candidate for Best Israeli Documentary.
The Film and TV Directors Union is expected to convene a meeting on Thursday morning to discuss possible responses to the Jerusalem Film Festival's decision, with some directors vowing to never present their films there again.