Ken Loach has decided to withdrawal his latest film, Cannes-competing title Looking for Eric, from the Melbourne International Film Festival in retaliation for MIFF organisers stance on Israel. As the press release states:
Mr Loach's decision is part of an orchestrated campaign to target events that are in receipt of financial support from the State of Israel. Loach requested that we join the boycott and as an independent arts organisation MIFF has refused. MIFF is extremely disappointed that Mr Loach has taken this stance. MIFF has played every one of his movies at the festival over the years including It's A Free World (sic) in 2008.
This follows on from the mysterious scrubbing of Celine Danhier's Blank City from the schedule, as well as the controversy that has built around China's plea for the festival to cancel all screenings of The 10 Conditions of Love (a call MIFF, yet again, refused to bow to).
Funnily enough, said controversy has meant that extra screenings have been added, slotted in the positions that Blank City previously occupied.
ETA Turns out the film $9.99, the Aussie/Israeli claymation title that I have mentioned before, is involved since the festival organisers paid for director Tatia Rosenthal's airfares from Israel to Melbourne to attend the screenings of her movies. Is that "supporting" the Israeli state? Not sure of all the details though.