Launch of the third edition of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival and censorship bans two films, including a Lebanese film
Last night, on Wednesday 31st of October, Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival’s third edition was launched. It is the first festival in the Middle East dedicated solely to horror films, thriller, suspense, action films, fantasy, science fiction. The festival kicked off with the screening of The Guilty (Original title: Den skyldige) by Danish filmmaker Gustav Moller recipient of the audience awards at Sundance Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival.
The organisers of the festival announced during their opening speech that the General Security banned two films from the festival’s programme, one of the them is a short Lebanese film listed among the Lebanese genre short film competition and the second one is Climax by Gaspar Noé, winner of the top Directors’ Fortnight award at Cannes Film Festival.
Maskoon’s Executive Director Myriam Sassine said in her opening speech that “censorship decided to ban two films for vague and unclear reasons as Climax has been gathering international recognition awards from all over the world and what is even for surprising is the banning of the Lebanese short film Nocturnal Deconstruction by Laura El Alam.” Myriam added” “banning these films made us feel that we truly entered the large family of Lebanese festivals and cultural activities. Of course, we refuse this censorship and will always raise our voice against and most importantly, we shouldn’t get used to it and start considering it as something normal happening in our daily lives. Today, films have become accessible and anyone can find and watch any film he wants. Therefore, this censorship only hurts the festival and cultural manifestations and filmmakers and individuals who are trying to create positive initiatives in Lebanon.”
Myriam made it clear that Nocturnal Deconstruction will remain a contender in the Lebanese genre competition despite the fact that it won’t be screened to the Lebanese audience. the 16 min short tells the story of a young woman who tries to overcome the emptiness in her life by trying a new pill that suppresses low self esteem and allows self love. As for Climax, it tells the story of a group of dancers who gather to rehearse their choreography. LSD gets slipped in their sangria and their rehearsal turns into a psychedelic nightmare.
Sassine also declared that Maskoon isn’t just a horror film festival but that it showcases all films that represents reality differently whether through thrillers, suspense, black comedy, science fiction, fantasy…etc. She described the festival as a platform for filmmakers, illustrators, professionals and movie lovers who are suffocating from their reality and would like to express themselves in different ways. Sassine also announced that Maskoon has joined the European Federation of Fantastic Film Festivals which includes the biggest fantastic film festivals in the world.
As for Maskoon’s artistic director Antoine Waked, he highlighted the fact that the festival’s programme includes three Arab films who are successful examples of the rise of Arab genre. Waked expressed sorrow regarding the banning of Climax, a film that is made to be watched on big screen and the Lebanese spectators will unfortunately watch now either on DVD or online.
It is worthy to note that the Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival has been running for three years and is co-organised by Abbout Productions, the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA), Metropolis Cinema and Cinemoz .