Sunday 26 March 2023

Film-makers say Israeli funding of Doc Edge Festival 'offensive and unacceptable'

International film-makers have joined calls for the Doc Edge international documentary film festival to cut ties with the Israeli Embassy, saying its funding amounts to propaganda to whitewash “abhorrent crimes and justify apartheid”.

Nine film-makers participating in the festival, including Gabriel Shipton​, brother of Julian Assange, penned an open letter to festival organisers last week.

The letter criticised the organisers of the festival for accepting funding from the embassy and said the affiliation with Israel was “offensive and unacceptable” and in “blatant contrast to the spirit of the festival”.


Director and producer of The Milford Road, Cole Yeoman instigated the letter after finding the Israeli Embassy named as a supporter on the festival’s website in late May.

“I initially reached out to the festival and expressed concern but they were dismissive of it and downplayed it.”


Yeoman said he had sent the letter directly to the festival organisers but was yet to receive any acknowledgement.


Yeoman said he supported the kaupapa of the festival and was aware it was common practice for embassies to support their country’s film industry by providing funds to festivals like Doc Edge.


“But this issue of accepting funds from the Israeli Embassy at a time when Israel is committing the crime of apartheid is not acceptable,” Yeoman said.


The festival runs in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and online between June 1 and July 10.

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