Cinema boycott - take two

By Rosa Doherty, August 21, 2014

Two Israeli film-makers have been denied funding to attend a prestigious festival in Britain because of a boycott.

Yoav Hornung and Niv Shpigel have directed films due to be shown at the Encounters festival in Bristol in September. But neither will be able to attend the screenings because money offered by the Israeli embassy to pay for their travel has been rejected.

Dan Golan, counsellor for cultural affairs at the embassy, said: "We committed to funding both film-makers so they could present their films, and the festival agreed. But it has since said it would not accept the money.

Mr Golan said he suspected organisers had changed their minds because they feared pro-Palestinian protests similar to those at the Edinburgh Fringe. "The festival is not willing to be identified publicly as receiving funding from our government," he said.

Mr Hornung said it would be extremely disappointing if the decision prevented him from coming to Bristol.

The festival director Debbi Lander said the current political situation between Israel and Gaza was standing in the way of them accepting funding from the embassy.

She said: "There would in all probability be negative consequences for the festival in accepting the funding that has been offered from the embassy of Israel this year.

"The individual filmmakers will of course be made very welcome by the festival."

The Board of Deputies said the festivals decision was "another disturbing example of how arts institutions are asking Jews to effectively disavow from the state of Israel.

"Instead of trying to make misguided political statements arts providers should do what they are supposed to, and allow for artistic expression.

"If they can’t do that then they are the dangerous ends of politicisation.”

Last updated: 1:23pm, August 27 2014