Funds scrapped for pro-Palestinian film

Support frozen after revised script compares W. Bank occupation to Holocaust.

January 27, 2010 01:57
1 minute read.
A poster advertising Jonathan Sagall's film Lipsti

jonathan sagall lipstikka 311. (photo credit: Screenshot)

The Israel Film Fund has suspended funding for a movie that compares the "occupation" of the West Bank to the Holocaust.

The film Odem (Lipstikka) was created by Canadian-Israeli actor and director Jonathan Sagall to portray his mother's experience in the Holocaust. Sagall, who starred as Momo in the 1978 Israeli cult film Eskimo Limon (Going all the way, aka Lemon Popsicle), received funding for the Lipstikka project five years ago and later decided to transport his mother's tale to Ramallah, where instead of the Nazis, two girls struggle against the Israeli occupation.

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The controversial film came to light when journalist Yair Lapid wrote an article in Friday's Yediot Aharonot in which he quoted a passage from a brochure he received for Odem that read: "It took a lot to convince the Israel Film Fund that the occupation is worse than Israel has ever admitted to and that it is possible to compare the occupation to the Holocaust."

After Lapid's column was published, the Israel Film Fund announced that it was freezing its support of the film, which had so far received NIS 1.3 million in state funds, NIS 850,000 of which has already been invested in the production.

Israel Radio reported on Tuesday that the decision to suspend funding followed a direct request from Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud).

The ministry has also distanced itself from the brochure, which it said it took no part whatsoever in writing. The Israel Film Fund further said that when it approved the funding, the script it saw for the film did not present the same comparisons described in the brochure.

Sagall is better known to English-speaking audiences as Poldek Pfefferberg, the black market expert from Schindler's List. He also wrote for the Israeli-Palestinian version of Sesame Street.

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