In a ridiculous turn of events, the Jaffna International Film Festival has removed the film ‘Demons in Paradise’, directed by Jude Ratnam, from its line-up.
“Allegedly owing to pressure from a group known only as the ‘Community’ in Jaffna, the festival organizers of the Jaffna International Cinema Festival have decided to remove the film DEMONS IN PARADISE directed by me from its scheduled program.,” Ratnam said, in a statement.
He also added that he had not been given a proper explanation for the last moment removal of his from the festival schedule.
“I feel this is a case of censorship and an infringement on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression,” he said.
Writing a letter to Festival Director Anoma Rajakaruna, Ratnam said Dr. S. Raguram, the festival committee chair, had insisted on the removal of the film.
The film was expected to be screened at the festival on October 05 at 06. 45 pm.
“The sudden removal of the film from the schedule and the festival’s decision not to screen the film comes as a surprise to me, heeding to pressure from a group so far identified as the ‘community’, ” Ratnam says in his letter.
Meanwhile writing to the Organiser of the Jaffna Film Festival, Dr. Rajan Hoole said: I am a resident of Jaffna who has read several commendatory reviews about the film and was happy that it was scheduled for screening here. There is an immense need for people here to be able to hear different views and be exposed other ways of seeing our history, especially the darker side that is assiduously blocked out by our politicians, media and especially the University. It is only then that they could break out of the propaganda monolith that is intent on keeping us in a kind of political stone-age.
“I am not surprised that Dr. Raguram of the Department of Media studies had ‘visitors’. I immediately sensed the kind of atmosphere where concerted attempts were made in 2014 and 2015 to stop the commemoration of Dr. Rajani Thiranagama at the University and then to stop the discussion of Palmyra Fallen, my book commemorating Rajani, in the Library Auditorium of the same University.
“You had only been asked for a proper explanation of why the film was removed from the schedule. Instead you have resorted to innuendo against the Director Jude Ratnam implying charges that have no flesh. The issues involved are so crucial that we expect a higher standard of civic morality from you.”