Press Note regarding charges against Ángel Sala, Festival Director, for the screening of A Serbian Film in 2010
SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia wishes to show its complete support for Ángel Sala and, by extension, the decisions that he has made while exercising his role as Director of the Festival.
Regarding the recent statements concerning the screening of A Serbian Film, the Festival wants to state that the above mentioned title is not a pornographic film, but, in fact, a fictional horror film, and is not meant as an attack or humiliation against the sexual dignity of minors.
SITGES wants to thank all the support it has received from its audience, other film festivals (1) and important cultural figures.
A Serbian Film was screened after carrying out all necessary informative and control measures in order to prevent any minors from accessing the screening. These measures consisted of information placed in the Festival media to guarantee awareness about the content of the film to the audience before its viewing, as well as demanding proof of age from viewers entering the theatre.
The path this film has followed has been the standard one within the conventional commercial circuit, having been screened, amongst many others, in the following international festivals and markets: Brussels, Montreal (Fantasia), San Francisco, Toronto, Austin, Porto, Sofia, Hamburg, Helsinki, Puchon (South Korea), Ravenna and Stockholm.
It is also worth mentioning that the film has been awarded several times, thrice in Montreal (Best Film, Best European Film, and the Innovation Award), the Special Jury Award at Fantasporto Festival in Porto (less than a week ago) and the Best Script Award at FIPRESCI Festival in Serbia.
A Serbian Film has also been screened at the two most prestigious markets in the world, the Cannes Film Market and Film Festival and the American Film Market in Santa Mónica, California, and will be commercially distributed in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
SITGES wants to thank again all support shown, as well as to express its respect to all the criticism that has given room to a necessary debate about the importance of freedom of speech and creation in the programming of film festivals.
SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia considers that it has acted rigorously in providing the audience with all the information it might require beforehand. Nevertheless, the rise of critical voices will make the Festival reflect on their communication mechanisms in the future, emphasizing child protection, and defending freedom of speech and creation as it has done from the beginning.
(1) SUPPORT LETTER BY THE SPANISH FILM FESTIVALS
We, the undersigned, directors of Spanish film festivals, wish, in view of the leak to the press published this weekend, to state our surprise at the legal action taken against Ángel Sala, director of the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, for having included in the 2010 programme of the said event, at sessions for adults only, A Serbian Film, which it is claimed contains violent, pornographic scenes conflicting with the rights of the child.
Over and above our surprise at pinning responsibility of this kind on a cultural programmer, and not on those theoretically responsible for the content in question (the director and the producers, if anyone at all), we wish to recall, in addition to our support of Ángel Sala, that the film has been screened over the last twelve months in festivals in Brussels, Montreal, London, Oporto, Austin, San Francisco, Toronto, Sofia, Hamburg, Helsinki, Puchon (South Korea), Ravenna and Stockholm, among others. A Serbian Film has also enjoyed screening at the two most prestigious film markets in the world: Cannes, and the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California. All of this without anyone, to date, having taken legal steps of any kind against the film, those responsible for it or its programmers.
We must also add that the film has won prestigious awards including three at Montreal (Best Film; Gold Award for Best European Film and Most Innovative Film); the Audience Award at the Fantasporto Festival in Oporto (less than a week ago); and the Best Screenplay Award at the FIPRESCI Festival in Serbia.
We also condemn the fact that behaviour such as that shown by the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Barcelona appears to be taking us back to times of censorship limitations on freedom of expression and cultural programming that we sincerely believed belonged to the past.
Javier Angulo (Festival de Valladolid)
Josetxo Cerdán Los Arcos (Punto de Vista / Pamplona)
José Luis Cienfuegos (Festival de Gijón)
José Luis Rebordinos (Festival de San Sebastián)
Carmelo Romero (Festival de Cine Español de Málaga)
José Sánchez Montes (Festival de Granada / Cines del Sur)
Claudio Utrera (Festival de Las Palmas)
Javier Martín Domínguez (Festival de Sevilla)
Eduardo Trías (Festival de Huelva)
Josemi Beltrán (Semana de Cine Fantástico y de Terror de San Sebastián)