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When Art Serves Foreign Policy

Press Release

30 October 2014 Following an intervention by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 7 Greek short films were withdrawn last week from the international film festival ‘Other Movie’ which takes place for the third year running in Switzerland. The reason being that the festival included a film that reportedly comes from the ‘Republic of Macedonia’ (rather than the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and that the films were produced by the Greek Film Center, which is a public organisation. The Hellenic League for Human Rights condemns the withdrawal of these films. Instead of ‘developing’ and ‘promoting’ the arts as defined by the Constitution (Article 16) and instead of fostering in every way possible the production of art and its promotion internationally, the Greek state is using cinematic films, that it has already funded, as a tool with purposes other than art. Instead of searching for dialogue and the best possible solution for this particular issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is acting inefficiently (already most festivals, such as Cannes and Berlin have long called our neighbouring country the ‘Republic of Macedonia’); only withdrawing the films in hindsight (after the opening of the festival) and without the filmmakers’ knowledge. Such actions neither serve the constitutional purposes of the state’s art funds, nor do they benefit the film industry! Board of Directors Athens, 30 October 2014

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