Artists protest Israeli lottery's decision to pull money from film festival

The demonstration Sunday took place at a special meeting of the Mifal Hapayis Cultural and Art Council, with the participation of the chairman of the board and the CEO.

By
July 1, 2019 16:10
1 minute read.
A ball used for the "Super LOTO", a lottery game draw, by the French lottery company FDJ

A ball used for the "Super LOTO", a lottery game draw, by the French lottery company FDJ. (photo credit: BENOIT TESSIER /REUTERS)

Dozens of artists and entertainers demonstrated Sunday at the entrance to the Mifal Hapayis building in Tel Aviv in protest against the national lottery’s decision to stop giving a cash prize to the winning film at the Docaviv Festival.

This followed political pressure after the film, Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche, won the Israeli competition at Docaviv. The film is a portrait of Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, who has represented civil rights activists and accused terrorists for nearly 50 years.

The protest against the prize began in June after the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved families, who were accompanied by the organization Im Tirtzu, began calling on Mifal Hapayis to cancel the prize. In a statement released last week, the directors of Mifal Hapayis said they would no longer give their prize to the winning film from Docaviv and that they were seeking legal advice regarding paying out the prize money to the directors of Advocate.

The demonstration Sunday took place at a special meeting of the Mifal Hapayis Cultural and Art Council, with the participation of the chairman of the board and the CEO. The protestors, including representatives of several artists’ unions, expressed anger and dismay at the organization’s decision.

The protestors carried signs with critical slogans, including, "Without Culture - Payis is just a casino,” "I lost the lottery,” and  "Do not gamble on freedom of expression.” 

They were met by a counter demonstration of bereaved relatives who supported Mifal Hapayis’ decision. The bereaved families held signs reading "Your Culture — Our Victims" and "Freedom of Expression — Not Public Funds."

This year, for the first time, as part of its program to subsidize culture and art in Israel, Mifal HaPayis agreed to give a prize of NIS 150,000 to whatever film won the top award at Docaviv, to help with marketing it for an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary: 100,000 when the filmmakers submitted the film for Oscar consideration and an additional 50,000 if the film were chosen for the Oscar shortlist.

In spite of the protests, the film was screened as planned on HOT 8 on Sunday night.


Related Content

August 23, 2019
Israeli Soccer Roundup: Intrigue abounds as Premier League kicks off

By JOSHUA HALICKMAN

Cookie Settings