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The Irish Times | August 3, 2006

IFI drops Israeli embassy as sponsor of film

The Irish Film Institute has cancelled its sponsorship arrangement with the Israeli embassy in Ireland for the screening of an Israeli film at the IFI cinemas in Dublin this weekend. The screening of the film, Walk On Water, will go ahead as scheduled tomorrow evening.

IFI director Mark Mulqueen informed the embassy of the decision on Monday in a statement which reads: "The decision is taken in light of the current activities of the Israeli government and prompted by the performance of your ambassador in explaining these acts to the Irish public. It is important for us to separate the screening of an Israeli feature film from activities of the Israeli government. In allowing the screening to go ahead, this is not an act of artistic censorship,something we would be loath to do."

In Walk on Water, a Mossad agent is on the trail of an ageing former Nazi officer. As part of his plan he poses as a tourist guide and sets out to befriend the man‘s gay grandson. The film is being screened at the 14th Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, which opens at the IFI tomorrow night and continues over the bank holiday weekend.

The Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, which takes place this month, has dropped the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as one of its sponsors. A group of filmmakers in the festival - among them Palestinian directors Elia Suleiman, Sameh Zoabi, Annemarie Jacir and Lebanese-born Elie Khalife and Myrna Maakaron - demanded that the festival withdraw the Israeli ministry from its sponsors. The filmmakers say that they made the demand "in consideration of the hundreds of innocent civilians that have been murdered by the state of Israel in its ongoing campaign".

(c) The Irish Times

Posted on 08-08-2006

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