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Film Fest Refuses To Bow To Chinese Demands, Shows Tibet Film

January 9, 2010

Jan 7, 2010 - News Services

PALM SPRINGS - A documentary about the Dalai Lama and Tibet that prompted
the Chinese to withdraw from the Palm Springs International Film Festival is
set to be screened Sunday.

Chinese officials objected to the screening of "The Sun Behind the Clouds:
Tibet's Struggle for Freedom," and when festival organizers refused to bow
to their demands, they withdrew their two entries, "City of Life and Death"
and "Quick, Quick, Slow," said festival Executive Director Darryl Macdonald.

The Chinese oppose the Dalai Lama's call for more independence for Tibet.

The documentary by directors Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam follows the Dalai
Lama over a year, including the 2008 protests in Tibet, the long march in
India, the Beijing Olympics and the breakdown of talks with China.

"This is the new China, flexing its muscles on the international stage," the
documentary's directors said in a posting on the film's Facebook site.

Tickets were still available for the 1:30 p.m. Sunday screening, but were
sold out for the Tuesday showing at the Camelot Theatres, according to the
festival's Web site.

A Chinese official told Macdonald on Friday that the festival director was
going against the position of the U.S. government, which does not recognize
Tibet as independent of China, according to The Desert Sun.

But Macdonald said, "Sorry, this is an arts event and we believe in freedom
of expression," the newspaper reported.

The festival's director said he was saddened by the Chinese withdrawal.

"We cannot allow the concerns of one country or community to dictate what
films we should or should not play, based on their own cultural or political
perspective," Macdonald said in a statement.

The festival will replace the screening of "City of Life and Death" with the
European film "For a Moment Freedom," which will be shown at 11:30 a.m.
Friday. The film centers on a group of Middle Eastern refugees who go to
Turkey to apply for European visas.

The Canadian film "Sticky Fingers" will screen at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the
Palm Springs Regal 9. The film is a comedy about six of the world's worst

The replacement of "Quick, Quick, Slow" will be announced at a later date.
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