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Chinese indie films pull out of film festival in response to Uighur doc

Three Chinese films have been pulled from the Melbourne International Film Festival program Tuesday in the wake of pressure from Chinese government representatives in Australia last week, regarding the premiere of documentary 10 Conditions of Love, which profiles Rebiya Kadeer, the leader in exile of the Uighur minority in western China.

The three films in question are Emily Tang’s A Perfect Life, Zhao Liang’s documentary Petition (which premiered at Cannes in May), and Jia Zhangke’s short film Cry Me a River.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Kadeer has widely been blamed by Beijing for inciting this month’s ethnic riots, which left at least 156 dead, mostly Han Chinese, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Festival organizer Richard Moore told The Hollywood Reporter that the filmmakers objected to the presence of Kadeer at the festival and the inclusion of “10 Conditions” in the program. On July 15, Moore received a call from Chinese consular staff in Melbourne demanding that “10 Conditions” be withdrawn ahead of its Aug. 8 premiere and wanting justification for its inclusion. Moore reiterated on Tuesday that MIFF continues to stand by its decision to program the film. “As a festival we continue to aim to support a plurality of views and are disappointed that this action has been taken,” he said.”

Read the full article.

The Age in Australia reports:

Festival director Richard Moore said yesterday it was a major disruption and uncalled for.
“I am obviously upset because we have supported the work of these filmmakers in the past,” he said. “People get passionate about their films every year but this … I wasn’t expecting this amount of dissent from outside forces.” Asked whether he believed Chinese filmmakers had been pressured to withdraw by the Chinese Government, Mr Moore, said it was extremely sensitive: “I can’t comment further.”


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