The Palm Springs International Film Festival announced yesterday that two Chinese films set to screen at the 2010 festival, City of Life and Death and Quick, Quick, Slow, have been withdrawn. This news comes in response to the festival’s decision to screen Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s documentary The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom despite the Chinese government’s request to cancel the film’s screenings. Sarin and Sonam’s documentary chronicles a year with the exiled Dalai Lama and explores the hardships affecting the people of Tibet.
In response to the Chinese authorities’ decision to withdraw City of Life and Death and Quick, Quick, Slow from the festival, festival director Darryl Macdonald noted, “I’m saddened that the Chinese film authorities have chosen to withdraw their films from PSIFF, as the festival is an international cultural event whose mandate is to present a wide cross section of perspectives and points of view. That said, we cannot allow the concerns of one country or community to dictate what films we should or should not play, based on their own cultural or political perspective.”
This news follows on the heels of the recent report that Tibetan moviemaker Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years in prison in a secret sentencing held by the Xilin People’s Court in the Chinese province of Qinghai on December 28, 2009 for the crime of “splitting the motherland,” stemming from his documentary Leaving Fear Behind. The Association for Tibetan Journalists continues to protest his imprisonment and call for the moviemaker’s release.
The Florida festival will screen For a Moment Freedom (Austria/France) and Sticky Fingers (Canada/France/Spain) in lieu of City of Life and Death, while replacement screenings for Quick, Quick, Slow will be announced at a later date. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is in its 21st year and runs from January 5-18, 2010.
To learn more about the festival, visit www.psfilmfest.org.
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