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Critics of 'The Cove' Cancellations

55 filmmakers, journalists criticize cancellation of 'The Cove' screenings

Tuesday 08th June, 2010

A total of 55 people, including journalists and filmmakers on Monday jointly criticized moves at Japanese movie theaters to cancel their planned screenings of Oscar-winning documentary ‘‘The Cove,’’ saying the cancellations are threatening freedom of expression.

‘‘Freedom of speech and expression can be realized only when places for making them are secured,’’ said a statement jointly issued by the 55, including journalist Akihiro Otani and film director Yoichi Sai.

‘‘We strongly hope and support cinemas to stand firm in defense of their positions to protect venues for such expression,’’ said the statement, which was sent to Unplugged Inc, the distributor of the film in Japan, and the movie theaters that have announced the cancellations.

‘‘The Cove,’’ mostly shot in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, partly with hidden cameras, depicts a controversial dolphin hunt in the Japanese town and won the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary feature.

Unplugged said in May the film would be screened at 26 theaters across Japan, but two in Tokyo and one in Osaka have decided to cancel the planned screenings after a group of conservative citizens told them that they would stage protests and acts of sabotage if they showed the film.

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