The website of the BDS movement, bdsmovement.net, claimed on Tuesday that four guests of TLVFest, the 2018 Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, have agreed to cancel their appearances. The festival is scheduled from May 31 to June 9 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
TLVFest management declined to confirm or deny the claims: “Whoever canceled, canceled. As far as we are concerned the festival will continue normally,” Yair Hochner, the founder of the festival and its artistic director, told Haaretz on Tuesday. Hochner said the “festival will continue to fight for the rights of the LGBT community and minority rights in general. We call on politicians in Israel to act on behalf of peace and to change their actions.”
The BDS website says one of the guests who cancelled is Brazilian transgender singer Linn da Quebrada, the star of the Brazilian documentary film “Tranny Fag.” The film won the Teddy Award for the best LGBT themed documentary at the Berlin International Film Festival this year. In addition, the website says the Brazilian directors Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman who were behind the film also cancelled their appearances at the festival. The website also claims other artists from France, Brazil and Pakistan have cancelled their trips to Israel for the festival.
The Pakistani Aks International Minorities Festival, has also decided to withdraw the participation of its representatives at a panel with TLVFest directors and its short film program, said the website. Brazilian director Calí dos Anjos and producer Bia Medeiros also announced the withdrawal of their short animation “Tailor” from TLVFest, claimed the website.
Da Quebrada wrote in a post on her Facebook page that she made the decision after speaking with many people from all over: “We decided to adhere to the boycott in disagreement with the Israeli government plan and its occupation in the region.”
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“Even knowing that also in Israel there are people who suffer from oppression over their bodies and desires, I decided to cancel my participation, joining the cultural boycott that has happened in the last few months around the world, as a form of protest against Israel and its genocidal policies over Palestinians,” she wrote according to the BDS website.
This is not the first time the TLVFest, which was founded in 2006, has had to deal with cancellations as a result of the pressure from the BDS movement against Israeli culture. Last year, five of the 12 international guests cancelled their appearances, including John Trengove, the South African film director whose film “The Wound” was chosen to open the festival last year.