Toronto Film Fest to Honor Tel Aviv, Controversially
Canadian, Israeli directors protest
A handful of influential Canadian filmmakers are threatening to pull their works from the upcoming Toronto Film Festival if the prestigious festival carries out its plans for a cinematic salute to Tel Aviv. This year’s festival, to open on September 10, is set to include a retrospective of Israeli films about the city, which is celebrating its 100 anniversary this year. That tribute, say some filmmakers, is politically charged, as it promotes Israel as a cultured and enlightened country and covers up the horrors of the Palestinian occupation. The filmmakers—a small group that includes popular author Naomi Klein, acclaimed director John Greyson, and prominent video artist Richard Fung—stress that they are not opposed to the numerous Israeli films shown as part of the festival’s main program, but that they consider the retrospective to be ideologically tainted.
Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni, who is part of the group calling for the boycott, called on Israeli filmmakers to join in. “Israeli filmmakers shouldn’t feel defensive,” Aloni told Haaretz. “They should say to their Canadian colleagues, ‘we stand with you, we don’t represent [Israeli foreign minister Avigdor] Lieberman, we represent the resistance.’ You can’t have it both ways.”
Toronto Festival: Directors protest Tel Aviv Tribute [Haaretz, in Hebrew]