Samer Ajouri, director of the short animation film The Boy and the Sea, announced he was boycotting the Carthage Film Festival due to be held in Tunis on 4-11 November in protest over the participation of the feature fiction film, Homs’ Rain by pro-Assad film director Joud Saeed.
In a statement he posted on his Facebook page on Monday, Ajouri described Joud Saeed as the Syrian regime director and the Joseph Goebbels of Assad’s Presidential Palace referring to Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister.
“The presence of Homs’ Rain on the list of films of the festival is a declaration from the festival’s management of their support to the Syrian regime’s criminal narrative, and screening this film means a real participating in promoting the regime’s propaganda,” Ajouri said.
The pro-Assad film director “cynically exploits the ruins of a whole city that was destroyed by the so-called Syrian Arab Army warplanes and tank fire and uses them as a cinematic background in a manner that can only be described as abusing Homs’ corpse.”
Ajouri went on to say that Homs’ Rain film is “clearly a propaganda tool produced by the Syrian regime to promote the theory of external conspiracy and to accuse different Islamic and non-Islamic parties of killing Homs’ residents, displacing them, and destroying and burning their homes.”
“I think that the issue should not be reduced to differing viewpoints,” Ajouri told Al-Hayat Newspaper. “If I participates in the festival, the confrontation will not be fair as the regime’s primary aim is political normalization and to be present at the festival with a film representing Syria.”
Bidayyat, the producer company of Ajouri’s film, expressed solidarity with Ajouri and said it “valued his courageous and moral position.” It called on filmmakers to show solidarity with Ajouroi’s position and “to resists attempts by dictatorial regimes to use their art as “a propaganda tool.”
According to Ajouri, the Boy and the Sea is a six-minute short animation film that tells the story of a little boy who finds joy in drawing the sea in a city lying in ruins. The boy dives into the sea he is drawing in the hope of escaping war and misery. To his astonishment, the boy finds himself trapped amongst swarms of screens that distorted his image and stole his story. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al-Hayat Newspaper)