(Text of a press release issued by Anomaa Rajakaruna Festival Director of Jaffna International Film Festival)
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
Reference to Jude Ratnam’s statement of DEMONS IN PARADISE which was to be screened at Jaffna International Cinema Festival
Jude Ratnam’s film which was premiered on 24th May 2017 has been traveling to many international film festivals abroad and had many screenings in the South of Sri Lanka. The film never had a public screening in the North of the Country particularly in the Jaffna peninsula. He was reluctant to take the film to the location where a majority of the film was shot. One wonders why? Why was he reluctant to take his film there during the last 16 months?
In his statement Jude mentions that “Thus far I have not been given a proper explanation for the removal of my film DEMONS IN PARADISE from the festival schedule” which is not accurate.
Jaffna International Cinema Festival’s application criteria is twofold. Film makers apply for competition sections and films are invited for special screenings and discussions.
Jude Ratnam’s film came to the festival through a partner of the festival who has presented his film at other locations in the South. The organizing committee has explained to the partner organization about their decision which was then relayed to Ratnam. Subsequently the partner went into discussion with Ratnam about starting a dialogue about the removal and overall freedom of expression.
We have kept the slot allocated for Jude Ratnam’s film on the schedule open. We would have started a discussion on the freedom of expression. It is sad that Jude Ratnam chose to walk out of the discussion to issue a press statement in the South of the country without considering our offer or the implications.
If the intended discussion took place, it would have opened up a space not just for the screening of one film, but for many other screenings of other film makers as well, in a nation divided by identity politics.
If we truly believe in finding space for expression in this country whether in the North or in the South, it should start with sincere dialogue, only then can we move forward as a Nation.
02 October 2018