Despite death threats and the loss of its venue over a bestiality film, an organizer of the Okanagan Film Festival International still wants to present it.
In an unsigned posting on Facebook on the weekend, a festival organizer said he is “working on locking down a new venue” after Landmark Cinemas announced its Paramount Theatre in downtown Kelowna would not host this week’s festival.
A message on the Paramount’s office phone line confirms the theatre will not host the Okanagan Film Festival International (OFF) nor show any of its films Thursday through Saturday.
The 75-minute documentary Donkey Love, about men who have sex with donkeys, was scheduled to end the festival film schedule at 11 p.m. on Saturday.
The independent film chronicles village life in remote parts of Colombia where two Vancouver filmmakers discover a controversial secret: young men are encouraged to have sex with donkeys.
The film has been shown at Australian festivals and won best documentary at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. OFF organizers believe the Kelowna airing would be the Canadian premiere.
Jeremy Heyden, the festival’s program director, did not respond to voice mail messages on Monday, but a Facebook posting that appears to come from him says: “We will NOT censor art to comfort the close-minded and those who believe everything the media publishes. I will not let petty death threats from cowardly red necks stop me from moving forward. Local media has misled many people to want to try and stop this festival from happening. Do not believe everything coming from Landmark Cinemas.”
The theatre company apparently doesn’t want its reputation tarnished, says the post.
“A documentary is being made right now on all of these matters. I will fight until the bitter end to make this festival happen. Please do not trust anything being published or talked about anywhere else about this festival. Everything will slowly be made public as me (sic) move closer to the dates. I thank you for your patience and understanding.”
The only comment posted on the page Monday came from Ekkert Nafn, who wrote, in part: “And the war begins. OFF and filmmakers vs. Landmark Cinemas. Left wing vs. right wings.”