Anyone who follows TLVFest – the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival – knows that the festival registration usually begins in September, and that its competitions, such as the pitching and short script competitions, open in November or December. In fact, we have already received hundreds of requests from Israeli and foreign filmmakers and entertainers who wish to come to TLVFest to present their films or perform in our parties
Unfortunately, this year we have been unable to begin the registration process, and I have been forced to send the following notice to applicants:
I have no idea whether the Tel Aviv International LGBT film festival will take place in 2019 due to a dispute with the Film Council and the management of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque which seriously jeopardizes the future of the Festival.
Despite these challenges, we have no intention of closing down the festival, and continue to call upon the Film Council to allow TLVFest to continue in dignity.
Unfortunately, the behavior of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, is also problematic. Despite the fact that the director of the Cinematheque expressed the interest in enabling the 2019 festival, the Cinematheque management
1 ) refuses to sign 2019 contracts.
2 ) refuses to pay the 2018 Festival Suppliers for over five months.
3 ) has not submitted the required budget request forms for the 2019 Festival.
4 ) has not held a meeting it promised to hold with us on these issues at the beginning of this week.
5 ) ignores emails and phone calls from Gil Sima, the festival’s general manager.
6 ) does not share any information or details about the situation
7 ) is responsible for cancelling a meeting with the lawyers handling matter after their representative failed to show up.
8 ) has refused to provide any information to the festival’s director general about a hearing rumored to have taken place at the Film Council in November.
We therefore call on the management of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque to:
pay the 2018 Festival Suppliers immediately
allow the Festival’s management to begin work on the 2019 Festival,
maintain full transparency and answer emails and telephone calls from festival’ representatives.
We further call upon the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality to interfere urgently and not to stand aside when such an important community institution is in danger of being closed.
A few details for those who are not familiar with the festival: In the past year, Gil Sima has served as the festival’s general manager, and together with a dedicated team of film lovers, we created a world class international festival. The festival’s monthly film club is thriving with a few thousand viewers. The festival also organizes LGBT film events throughout the country, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Haifa and other locations. TLVFest’s International drag competition has also stirred interest around the world for its groundbreaking interdisciplinary collaboration with leading artists of the LGBT community. This year, we plan to make festival bigger, despite the many international challenges from BDS activists who target an event that calls for tolerance and pluralism.
TLVFest is recognized for its many local and international achievements. In July 2018, MovieMaker Magazine chose TLVFest as one of the 25 coolest international film festivals in the world. In 2014 and 2015, TLVFest was chosen by Indiewire Magazine as one of the top 10 LGBT film festivals in the world, and Yair Hochner the founder and artistic director of the festival, was invited to be a featured jurist at important international festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival, the Berlinale Festival and the Guadalajara Festival, the largest film festival in Central and South America.