Friday, September 11, 2009

Stupid, meaningful or just plain old ass-hats?

TIFF. It means spat, or argument. TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) is the subject of a tiff. With filmmakers. Over what?


TIFF started a new program called City to City, with the intent of featuring films from filmmakers from a chosen city. To kick off this event, they have chosen Tel Aviv. A brave choice, to be sure. But if any city is a great choice to represent different voices, it is Tel Aviv. Secular, religious, gay, straight, eclectic artist, grey-suited businessman, sad slums, beautiful beaches, towering skyscrapers, pretty cottages, Jew, Arab, Tel Aviv has it all. And everyone has an opinion, and everyone voices their opinion. Freely.

John Greyson, Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, David Byrne, Julie Christie, Viggo Mortenson, Harry Belafonte, Naomi Klein, Min Sook Lee, and many others - some recognizable, some not - believe that these opinions should not be heard. They believe the voices of these people should be stifled. In other words, these artists believe that filmmakers in Tel Aviv should be censored, blacklisted. They attest to this in a letter of protest that was sent to TIFF. John Greyson, a respected filmmaker, withdrew his film from TIFF.

Oh, the irony of artists censoring artists.

To its credit, TIFF is standing strong. Cameron Bailey, co-director of TIFF wrote an open letter in response to this protest.
"I was attracted to Tel Aviv as our inaugural city because the films being made there explore and critique the city from many different perspectives....We encourage everyone to see the films, engage in debate and draw their own conclusions."
The artists mentioned above apparently believe that we shouldn't engage in debate. We should just criticise Israel and be done with it. No one should draw any conclusions because obviously, the only conclusion is Israel is bad. Israel oppresses. Yet, if these artists had their way, the only place you'd be able to see the films featured in City to City would be Israel.

Who are the real oppressors here?

If you wish to know who supports City to City, here are some of the names and statements I've been able to find:

Minnie Driver - "Empowered groups of people, deciding whose stories can, and cannot be told, does nothing but remind us of oppression that has no place in filmmaking"
Jon Voight
Saul Rubinek
David Cronenberg - "attempts to stop TIFF's City to City spotlight on Tel Aviv amount to political censorship"
Ivan Reitman - "Any attempt to silence that conversation, to hijack the festival for any political agenda in the end, only serves to silence artistic voices."
Norman Jewison
Robert Lantos - "Their brand of political censorship is at odds with the most cherished values of Canadian society: freedom of expression and freedom of choice...Bigotry like theirs has no place at the Toronto International Film Festival."
edited to add:
Simcha Jacobovici - "(TIFF) has been hijacked by a group of so-called activists bent on furthering their agenda – to demonize Jews and to marginalize Israel, in order to bring about the destruction of the Jewish State. Clearly, they do not support a two state solution. By objecting to a “spotlight” on Tel Aviv they are saying that no place in Israel is legitimate. From their twisted perspective, everything that Israel does is – by definition – illegitimate and everything that the enemies of Israel do is – by definition – legitimate. This is anti-Semitism in its crudest form. Furthermore, they have chosen to align themselves with Gaza’s Hamas regime that stands for terrorism, fundamentalism and totalitarianism. It is a Holocaust denying organization that is against Jews, Christians, gays and women. There is no worse regime in the world and yet Naomi Klein, John Greyson and company have chosen to identify themselves with it. You can tell a person by their friends."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All of these stars live in Southern California, which was stolen first from the Native Americans, then from the Mexicans.
Could the BE more hypocritical?