Three Lebanese documentary filmmakers have withdrawn from an international film program in Jordan after discovering that Israel was a major sponsor.
The program’s organiser, Greenhouse, is based in Israel, run by three Israelis and was established by the New Fund for Cinema and Television – an initiative spearheaded by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Art in conjunction with the Ankara Cinema Association of Turkey, VOF Appel & Honigmann of the Netherlands and Zebra Productions of Spain.
Lucien Bourjeily and Samer Ghorayeb were planning on screening their documentary Al-Kamache
before discovering the Israeli connection.
"We won’t accept this if there was an [Israeli] connection of any kind," Bourjeily told Al-Akhbar in a phone interview. "If we had thought that there was even a possibility that Israel is behind this project, we wouldn’t participate."
Similarly, Habib Battah has asked Greenhouse to remove his documentary Return to the Valley of Jews
from the program.
"Initially it seemed to be a strictly European-Union-funded project, producing films like 5 Broken Cameras which sheds light on the brutality of the Israeli occupation and humanizes the struggle against that occupation," Battah wrote to Al-Akhbar.
The program will run from August 29 to September 3 in Aqaba, Jordan and will feature filmmakers from Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Palestine.
According to a boycott law from 1955, Lebanese citizens are forbidden from interaction with Israeli individuals and organisations.