The audience at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was held in Goa recently, was left baffled after Israeli director Nadav Lapid in his speech during the closing ceremony slammed the festival for showcasing the much-talked-about and controversial Indian film The Kashmir Files. Nadav said that the comments were on behalf of the jury, as they felt the film was "propaganda" and "inappropriate" for the festival. He went on to complement the remaining 15 films that competed for their quality.
Nadav Lapid, in his speech, said, "We were all of us disturbed and shocked by the 15th film, 'The Kashmir Files', that felt to us like a propaganda, vulgar movie inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival."
The Kashmir Files was directed by Vivek Agnihotri, that explore the story of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits as they are evacuated from the Muslim majority Kashmir valley in the early 1990s as a response to the threat of increasing violence by the insurgents. The film was brandished as many for reportedly serving to the tunes of propaganda.
Who Is Nadav Lapid?
Nadav Lapid is an Israeli filmmaker who was born in the capital city, Tel Aviv, in 1975 and has a degree from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. He enrolled in film school after graduating from Tel Aviv University with a degree in philosophy. He has been a member of the Golden Leopard jury of Locarno Film Festival in 2015 and a member of International Critics' Week jury during the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Lapid has also served as a member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival that was held last year.
Lapid is an acclaimed filmmaker who is known for his films like Synonymes (2019), The Kindergarten Teacher (2014), and Policeman (2011). He was honoured with the Special Jury Prize for his debut movie, Policeman at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2011.
Nadav Lapid, 47, is known for his bittersweet relationship with his homeland Israel, which was shown in the competition entry, Ahed's Knee, at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. He was enlisted in the 250-member group of Israeli filmmakers who signed an open letter in order to protest against the launch of the Shomron (Samaria/West Bank) Film Fund.
The fund, according to the protesting filmmakers, was launched with only one purpose: inviting Israeli filmmakers to "actively participate in whitewashing the Occupation in exchange for financial support and prizes." The Shomron Film Fund officially mandated the filmmakers to "distribute grants to Jewish settlers who reside in the West Bank ("Judea and Samaria") and to productions by Israeli citizens filmed in the West Bank."
Ahed's Knee was sent to the competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The film is inspired by the noted screenwriter and director's own experience of political interference that he faces in his work.
Nadav Lapid is said to be working on his next project, which entails the story of a 16 year-old young Palestinian teenager, Ahed Tamini, who was sentenced to prison in 2017 for slapping an Israeli soldier.
The Israeli filmmaker, apart from making movies, has published a novel back in 2001 that was titled Continua Bailando. Nadav has also been a cinematographer for several Israeli documentaries.
Nadav Lapid's connection with the IFFI traces back to 2014, when the actor from his film The Kindergarten Teacher, Sarit Larry, was honoured with the Best Actor Award at the prestigious festival.