Ulrich Seidl cancels trip to San Sebastian to present ‘Sparta’ | News – Armessa Movie News

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Austrian director Ulrich Seidl will no longer travel to San Sebastián to present his film Sparta, which is screening tomorrow in competition at the festival.

The move comes a week after the film was pulled by the Toronto Film Festival following an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel which alleged that the child actors in the film were not protected enough on set.

In particular the article alleged that filmmaker did not tell the youngsters or their guardians of the film’s themes before they were exposed to nudity, alcoholism and violence.

Seidl has denied the allegations. He took to his website to refute the claims and said the article, published on September 2 following a months-long investigation, was a distortion. His lawyers reportedly added no children were filmed naked or exposed to potential harm.

The Spanish distributor of the film, Filmin, has released a statement by Seidl explaining the reasons behind his decision: “I am very grateful to José Luis Rebordinos [San Sebastián’s director] for supporting Sparta from the beginning and despite the media pressure and this sudden an unexpected controversy. It means a lot to me. My first impulse was to go to San Sebastián and not leave the film on its own, a film in which my crew and I have worked for so many years. Nevertheless, I have realised that my presence at the premiere could overshadow the reception of the film. Now is the time for the film to do the talking by itself.”

Following the filmmaker’s decision not to travel to San Sebastián, the Spanish film festival has confirmed the screening of the film in competition will go on as planned.

Filmfest Hamburg announced earlier this week that it will no longer present Seidl with its Douglas Sirk award, but the film will still screen at the event as planned.

When the Der Spiegel article was first published, the festival’s management board released a statement saying: “The Festival team assesses the films after their viewing according to their interest and quality. The Festival does not have the ability to judge how a film has been shot and whether a crime has been committed in the course of the filming. If anyone has any evidence of a crime, they should report it to a judge. Only a court order would lead us to suspend a scheduled screening”.

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– Armessa Movie News

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