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Monday, April 12, 2010

Egyptian directors create alternate film festival to exclude Israel

I reported last week about how Egyptians were boycotting a French film festival in Cairo that included a non-political film by an Israeli director.

Since then, the number of boycotting Egyptian filmmakers has increased, so they are launching their own alternative film festival just for the purpose of not allowing any Israeli films.

From Gulf News:
Capping a week of protest against screening an Israeli film at a French festival in Cairo, a group of Egyptian filmmakers have said they will organise a concurrent protest festival starting on Sunday.

Last week, 11 Egyptian filmmakers withdrew from Recontres de L'Image a week-long festival organised by the French Cultural Centre in Cairo in protest against showing a film by an Israeli director.

In their protest festival called The First Festival for Free Image, which runs until April 15, the Egyptian filmmakers will show 40 feature, short and documentary films, say organisers.

The festival was approved by Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni.

"The Egyptian artists have the right to show their films without pressure from anybody or imposing any conditions on them," added Hosni, who last October lost in a race for the top post of the UN's cultural agency the Unesco.

On Thursday, scores of Egyptian artists and intellectuals protested outside the French Cultural Centre in Cairo against what they called the insistence on showing Almost Normal, a film by Israeli director Karen Ben-Rafael.

How Orwellian is it that artists, usually the first people to protest against censorship, use the word "free" to describe an event specifically designed to exclude others?