World Premiere for 3 Stolen Cameras at DOK Leipzig after censorship in Lebanon

We are very pleased to announce the new world premiere for 3 Stolen Cameras, which will be on the DOK Leipzig film festival. The film is nominated for best international short film at the festival held in early November in Leipzig, Germany.

Website of DOK Leipzig

The film was supposed to have premiere at the Beirut International Film Festival in early October but was not given permission by the Lebanese authorities. Through Moroccan media, it is emphasized that Morocco is behind the censorship through its embassy in Beirut, which has put pressure on 6 Lebanese ministries, all of whom have banned the film. 3 Stolen Cameras is covering the situation in Western Sahara that is occupied by Morocco. It tells about the video group Equipe Media and how they work to be able to film the abuses on civilians and the non-violent resistance within the occupied territory.

Behind the film is the Sahrawi group Equipe Media and the Swedish filmmakers collective RåFILM who together made the film of the material that Equipe Media has collected since its launch in 2009.

At DOK Leipzig there was no possibility of choosing Western Sahara next to Sweden as the country of production of the film. We have therefore chosen to designate Spain as a production country, as Spain is still legally responsible for Western Sahara, which until 1975 was a Spanish colony that the country should have decolonialized. For us as a filmmaker, it is completely wrong to write the other option Morocco, which would legitimize their claim on Western Sahara.

The reasoning of the censorship in Libanon that came through the Arab media is that Lebanon censored the film just because of Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Several film festivals have made an appeal against the censorship of 3 Stolen Cameras. The Film Festival ’La Mostra del Mediterrani’ in Valencia, Spain, showed the movie’s trailer during its film festival the same weekend that the film should have been shown in Beirut. The film will also be featured at the Naples Human Rights Film Festival on November 10th as a gesture against the censorship film met in Lebanon.

20 film festivals have so far signed an open letter to Lebanese authorities to withdraw the ban on the film.

Open letter against censorship of 3 Stolen Cameras:

Last week we wrote this open letter urging the Beirut authorities and the Censorship Department to reverse its decision and allow the Beirut International Film Festival (BIFF) to screen 3 Stolen Cameras. The film was accepted by BIFF programmers and was scheduled to screen on Friday the 6th of October and on Sunday the 8th of October. However, the festival was forced to cancel both screenings after receiving notice from the Beirut Censorship Department that it did not authorize the screenings.

This does not bore well for the image of Lebanon as a country open to cultural freedom and cross-cultural dialogue.

Even when BIFF ends, we continue to urge the Lebanese government to allow the film to be screened. We believe that screening 3 Stolen Cameras can only benefit Beirut audiences, as the film espouses universal values such peace, human dignity and freedom from oppression.

We know that Moroccan government representatives have urged six different ministries in Lebanon to support the ban in the name of maintaining good relations between countries. However, we believe that screening the film should not get in the way of maintaining cross-country collaborations. Lebanon should be able to exercise its sovereignty and not get in the business of censoring films on universal values such as human rights due to interference from diplomats from other countries.

By reversing its position on 3 Stolen Cameras, we believe that the Lebanese government will be taking a step forward in supporting  freedom of expression.

Sincerely,

Western Sahara International Film Festival (FiSahara), Algeria

International Human Rights Film Festival/Environmental Film Festival (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Naples Human Rights Film Festival (Italy)

Human Rights Human Wrongs Documentary Film Festival (Oslo, Norway)

This Human World Film Festival (Vienna, Austria)

Document Human Rights Film Festival (Glasgow, Scotland)

Docudays UA HRDFF, Ukraine

Verzió International Human Rights Film Festival (Hungary)

La Mostra del Mediterrani (Valencia, Spain)

Festival Droits de l’Homme (Paris)

International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights — Fifdh (Geneva)

FreedomFilmFest (Malaysia)

Movies that Matter HR film festival (Amsterdam)

Sucre International Human Rights Film Festival (Bolivia)

Tempo Documentary Festival (Stockholm, Sweden)

Dokufest International Documentary and Short Film Festival, (Prizren, Kosovo)

San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival (Basque Country, Spain)

Festival Audiovisual Montes de María (Colombia)

Museo Itinerante de la memoria y la identidad de Montes de María (Colombia)

Festival Ojoalsancocho (Colombia)