Yesterday I received an email from one of the directors of the St Neots Film Festival, where I screened 4 films in 2016 and had just announced happily to be screening my short “Sexsomnia” this year, informing me that despite their previous official selection of the film it was being pulled from the festival.
Not only were they pulling the film but the email accused the subject of my film of being a rapist and implicit in that accused me of condoning rape by making the film.
Neither of these horrible allegations do I take lightly.
It is important to note that this happened not at the initial submission stage, where I am used to (as most filmmakers are) having films not selected by film festivals, but after the festival organisers had seen the film, chosen it for selection and I had been notified of its official selection.
No attempt was made by the festival organisers to discuss the matter with me prior to the pulling of the film from the festival.
The allegations made by the festival cannot be politely ignored.
The subject of “Sexsomnia” remains anonymous in the film (his face and voice are disguised) for a good reason.
This recognized medical condition has caused some controversy in the media due to cases of it being cited as a defence in sexual assault cases where it has been both successful and unsuccessful.
However, a simple google search and a read of even the first result from Wikipedia should suffice to show even the most cynical of readers that this is a real condition and it’s sufferers need taking seriously as it could easily be argued they are the victims in many situations.
It is worth mentioning that there are also female sufferers of the condition and I can’t help but wonder if the film had interviewed a female sufferer if it would be receiving the same treatment from the festival.
At the very least it seems to be a topic worth exploring and discussing, I hoped and believed my short could contribute to that discussion. I am very disappointed that St Neots Film Festival chose to shut down any possibility of that taking place.
Due to the severity of these allegations about the subject of my film and the implications about me personally, I will be boycotting St Neots Film Festival.