Sri Lanka Bans Film Festival Organized by French Embassy; CID Questions Film Producers
Second Edition(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka authorities have suspend a film festival organized by the French embassy in Colombo over screening a local film which claim to be critical towards Sri Lanka military forces.
The French Film festival was scheduled to be held during June 18 – July 14 at the BMICH in Colombo, but was suspended with immediate effect as it was subjected to criticism and controversy following the screening of the Sinhala movie "Flying Fish" last Thursday (11), directed by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara.
In a statement issued by the BMICH Board of Management, while apologizing to the general public and the armed forces for permitting the film to be screened at their premises, stated approval to screen the movie at the BMICH premises was based solely upon the certification given by the PPB and under the assumption that ‘the foreign organizes of such events will always respect and honor the social, historical and cultural sensitivities of the people of the host country.’
However PPB Chairman Sumanasekara claims he has not given any such certification. Sumanasekara said that they are not equipped with the legal provisions to take action against screenings of any films that might contain material that might not agree with local audiences, at foreign film festivals held in Sri Lanka and they decided to seek legal advice egarding the course of action that should be followed in the future.
Meanwhile, responding to the suspension of the Film Festival, the Embassy of France said the movie 'Flying Fish' had been chosen, due to its international recognition in festivals in Asia and in France. It also stated that it had received the certifications authorizing the screening of all the movies from the Public Performances Board.
"The Embassy of France regrets this unfortunate incident and the embarrassment for the general public and for the French Spring partners and sponsors." Embassy of France said in the statement.
Meanwhile Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has questioned Kalum Palitha Maheerathne, a adviser of film production company of "flying Fish", reports say.
Director General of the Media Center for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle said that Ministry of Defense has started investigation into the film. “This film’s contents , we have been told, depicts an offensive and derogatory image of the Sri Lankan armed forces. Therefore, we have decided to launch an investigation into its contents,” he said.
"Flying Fish", a debut film by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara has been awarded in several international film festivals around the world.
Several Sri Lankan films which were critical towards government and military have been banned by the government in recent years.