China pressure forced Tibetan films ouster from film fest
(ANI | August 19, 2004)

A film festival here has run into rough waters, with pro-Tibet organisations crying foul over the pulling out of two Tibetan films due to alleged Chinese pressure. The week-long "Third Eye" Asian Film Festival kicks off Saturday.

Originally a package of Tibetan films was to be screened at the Festival. "Kundun", "Seven Years in Tibet", "Little Buddha", "Himalaya" and "The Cup" were part of the festival lineup. Martin Scorsese's "Kundun", a biography of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama and Jean Jacuques Annaud's "Seven Years In Tibet" are the two films that have been dropped by the festival committee.

Pro-Tibetan organisations say that the anti-China content of the films have lead to their ouster from the festival. "Because these two films relate to the Dalai Lama, to the Chinese aggression, and to its continuing occupation of Tibet, they (the Chinese) have objection to it. They put the same kind of pressure at the Hong Kong film festival...all over the world. They do not want the Dalai Lama to speak in any foreign university," said Aspi B. Mistry, spokesperson, "Friends of Tibet" society.

Festival organisers, however, claim that the films in question were not being screened at the festival since their DVD versions were readily available in the market.

"Of course, there was resentment from China but China cannot dictate terms to us. They wanted that we should not show (the films) because we were focussing on China. We had to drop the films ultimately because in the festival we cannot show films which are already in the market," said Sudhir Nandgaonkar, secretary of the Third Eye Asian Film Festival.

Movie buffs, on the other hand, felt that withdrawing the films was a bad move since everyone had a right to present his perspective. "That nation (Tibet) also has a right to show what their perspective is in those things. We are also in a democratic country and nobody can stop us from doing those things," said Rekha Kale, a film enthusiast. (ANI)