Filmmakers withdraw from apartheid Israel’s Jerusalem Film Festival


Oscar winner Jane Campion (Best Director, 2021), and Basque filmmaker Estíbaliz Urresola Solaguren are among those to ask for their films to be withdrawn from the Jerusalem Film Festival, which ends tomorrow. 

At least three other directors, from the US and UK, also did so. Campion’s 1989 film Sweetie, and Urresola’s debut feature 20,000 Species of Bees, were expected to screen at the festival this week.

Award-winning screenwriter, producer and director James Schamus, co-founder and former CEO of Focus Features, reacted to the news: 

“Last year, Emma Watson spoke for a growing chorus of international cultural workers in support of Palestinian rights when she attested that ‘solidarity is a verb.’ 

This summer, as the world watches the Israeli government ramp up its assaults on and dispossession of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents, filmmakers are bravely taking that phrase to heart.”

Palestinian and international filmmakers and actors had urged participants in the Jerusalem Film Festival, which is partnered with the far-right, sexist, fundamentalist, homophobic and transphobic Israeli government, to withdraw:

“Until the festival ends its complicity in Israel’s apartheid regime, participating in Jerusalem Film Festival can only prolong injustice, regardless of good intentions.

We urge you to join thousands of artists, including many filmmakers, who have respected the nonviolent Palestinian picket line, by canceling your participation.”

We greatly appreciate this meaningful solidarity. We thank these filmmakers, and call on all other directors and other artists to refuse to participate in apartheid Israel’s attempts to artwash its human rights violations against Palestinians, like South Africa’s apartheid regime before it.

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