Samer Ajouri, director of the animation film The Boy and the Sea decides to withdraw from Carthage Film Festival protesting against the participation of the feature fiction film, Homs’ Rain directed by Joud Saeed, writing a statement (attached with this news piece) to clarify his position.
We, as Bidayyat, the producer company of the film, show solidarity with Samer Ajouri and value his courageous moral and cinematic position. We call on filmmakers to show solidarity with this position, refusing to allow their art to be a propaganda tool used by dictatorial regimes. And from now, the film will be available online for the Tunisian and international audience to watch with no obstacles. The link to the film is: here
In the past four years, Bidayyat had participated in the official competition of Carthage Film Festival through two films produced by Bidayyat, Our Terrible Country and Houses without Doors. And today, as a company who supports the work of young filmmakers, it has to stand with and support Samer Ajouri in defense of the freedom of filmmakers and the independence of Arab cinema in the face of the dictatorial authorities that do not hesitate to use cinema as a political tool to hide the truth of the crimes and the criminal.
This is the statement of Samer Ajouri in which he announces his withdrawal from the festival:
A month ago, I was invited to participate in Carthage Film Festival, in the short film category, and so we (Bidayyat, the producer of the film, and I) submmited the film thinking that it was chosen due to its content and its artisitic and storytelling value, and without asking about the festival’s political context or agenda. Then, the committee of the festival sent me a personal invitation as a director to participate in the festival taking place in Tunisia.
Few days ago, the list of films participating in all the categories of the festival was published. Homs’ Rain, by Joud Saeed, the Syrian regime director and the Presidential Palace’ Joseph Goebbels, was among the feature fiction films participating in the festival. The director exploits the ruins of a whole city who was destroyed by the Syrian Arab Army warplanes and tank fire, and uses them as a cinematic background in a very horrible way that abuses Homs’ corpse.
What cannot be denied by the festival’s management and the committee who chose Homs’ Rain is that the film is clearly propaganda tool produced by the Syrian regime to promote the idea of external conspiracy and to accuse different Islamic and non- Islamic parties of killing Homs’ residents, displacing them, and destructing and burning their homes. Moreover, the presence ofHoms’ Rain on the list of films of the festival is a declaration from the festival’s management of their support to the Syrian regime's criminal narrative, and screening this film means a real participating in promoting the regime’s propaganda.
Due to my categorical rejection of the festival’s policy, I announce my withdrawal from the list of the invited and participating filmmakers because I refuse to list my works with a Syrian regime film under the context of the so-called “cinematic art”, and because I apologize for participating in a festival that exploits art with the aim of political normalization with whom is directly in charge of “Homs’ Blood”.
Signature: Samer Ajouri