Theatre chain boots organizers for Donkey Love film
Okanagan Film Festival International, under fire over a controversial documentary about Columbian men having sex with donkeys, has cancelled all public screenings after organizers were unable to secure a venue.
Landmark Cinemas ditched plans to host OFF International at its Kelowna theatre after the chain learned last week of the content of Donkey Love, an award-winning film.
“We have never agreed to, nor would we ever agree to, playing a film of this nature,” Neil Campbell, the cinema chain’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
“We were very concerned to learn that we were associated with this movie when we had no previous knowledge of it.”
Festival organizer Jeremy Heynen said filmmakers, who were scheduled to fly into Kelowna to attend the four-day festival this weekend, were “livid” and “beyond angry” about how the theatre chain and parts of the community have responded.
“Anybody that watches the film will see for themselves what these filmmakers intentions were — and it’s not at all what it’s being made out to be.”
He said it would’ve been easier to screen the film in Vancouver or Toronto where a larger number of independent theatres means not having to deal with “cowardly, greedy corporations.”
Heynen added he’s been in contact with the RCMP over alleged death threats and harassing phone calls he’s received from angry locals.
“I love my community and I was trying to do this to basically build a bridge between talented filmmakers from around the world and Kelowna.”