Director Spike Jonze, who arrived in Israel on Monday to take part in the Jerusalem Film Festival, has canceled a master class that he was scheduled to teach on Wednesday due to the hostilities between Gaza and Israel.
Jonze apologized for the cancelation on Tuesday evening in a statement addressed to filmgoers and filmmakers.
"It felt like the wrong time for me to be talking about movies with everything going on," he said.
"I hope you understand. I will come back again and screen movies and talk film with you when the time is right. My heart is with you and everyone who is suffering right now."
The master class was expected to take place immediately after the screening of Jonze's "Being John Malkovich," marking 15 years since the film's release. The screening is to take place as scheduled, although festival organizers have promised to issue refunds to those who wish to be reimbursed.
Jerusalem Cinematheque CEO Noa Regev said that the festival organizers respect Jonze's decision and thank him for his attendance despite the conflict.
"We apologize to the audience that anticipated this gathering," she added.
Jonze was invited on Monday to join a press conference held by Israeli directors who called the Israeli government to make efforts to reach a cease-fire with Gaza, but the Oscar-winning director declined.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now