May 32 Film Festival Forced to Move
Published: May 7, 2014 (Issue # 1809)
The opening of May 32 human rights documentary film festival, scheduled for Monday, was abruptly shut down earlier that same day when fire inspectors paid a visit to the festival venue and closed it for what they termed fire safety violations.
The unplanned inspection was preceded by talks with Moskovsky District police chief Yevgeny Saunin, according to the prganizers, who say that they were summoned on Sunday to find out whether they had permits to screen the films, which included “Putin’s Games,” an account of large-scale corruption at the construction of facilities for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, and “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” about the trial of three members of the feminist punk group in Moscow in 2012.
According to the organizers, they argued that no permits were required by law for festival screenings, but were then told it was improper to screen films on such sensitive subjects ahead of Victory Day on Friday, and in the view of the current events in Ukraine.
Sasha Klein, the Israeli producer of “Putin’s Games,” who spoke at an impromptu press conference outside the closed venue on Monday, expressed his surprise at the actions of the authorities.
“I think those who took the decision to prevent the film from being shown simply have not seen it,” Klein said.
“First, the film is available on the Internet; secondly, we don’t say anything new; we speak about what is already known. Of course, it features opposition figures Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov, but on the other hand, it has representatives of the authorities speaking, it has the Mayor of Sochi and the representatives of the Moscow Olympic Committee.”
The organizers said the screenings would be held at the offices of Yabloko Democratic Party, located at 13 Shpalernaya Ulitsa, through Thursday.