The award-winning Canadian movie Inch’Allah was withdrawn from an Israeli film festival in Australia after a patron complained that it’s biased against Israel.
Organizers of the 10th annual Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Israeli Film Festival, taking place throughout August in seven cities, agreed to pull the film after David Schulberg of Melbourne contended that Inch’Allah is “essentially a propaganda film,” J-Wire, the Jewish Australian News Service, reported on Aug. 22.
Inch’Allah, written and directed by Quebecer Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, is about a young Canadian obstetrician working in a clinic in a West Bank refugee camp. She lives in Jerusalem and passes through checkpoints daily.
With Jewish and Arab friends, she’s torn between the two sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The French-language Inch’Allah had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and has since been nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards, including best picture, and received a prize at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Schulberg also pointed out that Barbeau-Lavalette was among 500 Quebec artists who in 2009 signed a petition, organized by the Montreal-based anti-Israel group Tadamon, calling for a boycott of Israel and accusing it of practising apartheid.
The film was withdrawn after it had been screened at least once, in Mebourne.
AICE chair Albert Dadon replied that he agreed with Schulberg.
“The artistic direction for this film was in contradiction with our objectives… I usually prefer not to get involved in artistic matters concerning the festival, but in this instance (I had not seen every movie) the message of that film is completely at odds with what we are about.”