Minister for Culture and Sport Miri Regev threatened to cut off subsidies if the documentary was not pulled.
In a conflict that some are already calling The Clash of the Regevs, the new Minister for Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, told the director of the Jerusalem Film Festival, Noa Regev (no relation) that she will cut off all of the event’s subsidies unless a documentary entitled Beyond the Fear is taken off the program.
Miri Regev, a former Army censor and a leader of the victorious Likud party which swept recent elections, had already created furor in the media when she first announced that she will not hesitate to clamp down any attempt by artists of any kind to slander the present Israeli policies. Harshly criticized after she threatened to deprive an Arab theatre troupe of all financial assistance because it refused to take its productions on tour through the West Bank territories (that conflict was settled when the troupe gave in to her demands), she now enjoys however almost wall to wall support on her decision to prevent the official presentation of Beyond the Fear in the forthcoming Jerusalem Film Festival, starting July 9.
The project, launched by late eminent Latvian documentarist Herz Frank who moved to Israel in 1992, and completed after his death in 2013 by Maria Kravchenko, follows the life behind prison bars of Igal Amir, the man who assassinated Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin in 1994 and affected, to a great extent, the political future of the country. Purging a life sentence, with apparently little or no chance at all of ever being released, considered the most hated prisoner in any Israeli jail, without exception, he got married, while in prison, with Larissa, a Russian-born divorcee who had fallen in love with him and gave birth to his son.
Already unveiled in several international festivals, such as Riga IFF and Hot Docs, recipient of Russian Film Critics White Elephant award for Best 2015 Documentary, the film’s selection for the international documentary competition in Jerusalem triggered an angry wave of protest ranging from Minister’s right wing supporters all the way to former President Shimon Peres, who was one of Rabin’s closest collaborators at the head of the Labour Party (the two shared with Yasser Arafat the 1994 Nobel Prize for Peace)..
In a press release published earlier today, JFF’s Noa Regev announced that, conscious of the sensitive nerve the film is touching, it will not be screened within the frame of the festival program but shown earlier, in another Jerusalem cinema. But since the festival has and will go on providing a free and independent, unbiased platform for all artistic opinions and approaches, it will stay in competition, the jury most likely to watch it in a private screening.