Filmmakers pull out of Tel Aviv LGBT film festival citing BDS

South African director reportedly nixes participation after already flown to Israel by organizers

Image from John Trengrove's The Wound (YouTube screenshot)
Image from John Trengrove's The Wound (YouTube screenshot)

Several filmmakers scheduled to participate in an LGBT film festival in Tel Aviv have pulled out, citing pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival is scheduled to open on Thursday and run through June 10.

Among those who have pulled out in support of the cultural boycott of Israel are: South African director John Trengrove, whose film “The Wound” is the festival’s opening-night production; Canadian-Pakistani screenwriter and actor Fawzia Mirza, whose film “Signature Move” will be shown at the festival, and Nadia Ibrahim, a Palestinian living in Denmark who was to serve as a member of the festival jury and appear on a panel.

Trengrove reportedly decided to cancel his participation after his arrival in Israel, which was paid for by the cash-strapped festival, according to Haaretz.

The effort reportedly is being led by Pinkwashing Israel, which says that TLVFest “promotes the cynical use of gay rights — known as pinkwashing — to distract from and normalize Israeli occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Part of the festival’s funding comes from the government through the Ministry of Culture and Sport.

The annual Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade will be held near the end of the festival on June 9.

Swiss actor Jasna Fritzi Bauer, meanwhile, withdrew from the festival because of a scheduling problem. She notified festival organizers that she was “profoundly disappointed” not to be able to participate. “Bauer has a deep love for Israel and its people, and she was thrilled to be coming to Tel Aviv for the festival,” her management said. “Her decision not to attend was a result of a scheduling problem relating to her performance in a film.”

This article was updated on June 1 to correct the reference to Jasna Fritzi Bauer.

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