The documentary shorts category rarely grabs headlines at awards show, but the night before Spain's equivalent of the Oscars, the Goyas, everyone is talking about an 18-minute film about life in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza has become the center of a controversy after a planned screening of the film in Madrid on Friday was canceled, with critics accusing the film of anti-Semitism and the filmmakers making claims of threats and censorship.
The pro-Palestine activist group BDS, which provided promotional support for the pic, organized the screening. BDS, whose initials stand for "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions," has called for the global community to cut cultural ties with Israel in protest of the country's treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the the occupied territories.
BDS has been in industry news in recent months over its support for different cultural boycotts of Israel, including the annual pan-European song competition Eurovision, slated to take place in Tel Aviv in May...
Elias Cohen, Secretary General of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, on Friday said that he had not heard about the film Gaza until he saw information about the Madrid screening put out by BDS, an organization he said “seeks to delegitimize Israel and Israelis.”
Cohen placed the pic in the context of what he called an established “anti-Israel sentiment” in the Spanish film industry. “The organizers [of the Goyas], the actors, the producers, the directors have a long anti-Israel curriculum,” he said. “They have denounced Israel over and over again. They have promoted and starred in videos denouncing Israel.”