While the project was two months in the making, the city council canceled the partnership between the municipal cinema of Saint-Genis-Laval and the Ecrans Mixtes festival. The organizers are making it their business to censor their LGBTQ+ theme. The municipality responds that the partnership has not been certified by the Municipal Council.
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The program was closed. Ready to go to the printer. And then came the bad news. Three Mixed Screen screenings, including one in partnership with SOS Homophobia, scheduled for early March in Saint-Genis-Laval at the municipal cinema La Mouche have just been canceled by the municipality.
A surprise when the Queer cinema festival had been working side by side with the municipal cinema team for two months. “There was a very enthusiastic process and it got stuck and suddenly we were told “no, it’s not possible”, for some reason.”, says Olivier Leculier, president of the Ecrans Mixtes festival.This is the first time this has happened“.
However, the Ecrans Mixtes festival is well established. Created 13 years ago, it offers around a hundred shows every year in different cinemas in the Metropolis of Lyon. 70,000 people attended the shows last year.
Cinema la Mouche having already collaborated with other events such as the Lumière festival, the organizers are asking questions after this last minute cancellation.
“In the face of refusal to answer and some kind of ambiguity […] we wonder why the Lumière festival has screenings and not us. What sets us apart is the Queer theme, other than that we don’t really understand why“, says Olivier Leculier
The organizers go so far as to state in their communication that “TheIt seems that LGBTQIA+ representations are not welcome in Saint-Genis-Laval.“
Ivan Métifiot, artistic director of the Ecrans Mixtes festival, expresses his disappointment at this decision: “the will of Écrans Mixtes is to reach all audiences. It’s our DNA. You will go to the territories to talk to people, to fight against discrimination. But also talking about culture, showing authors, defending films. It is culture that is censored. There are no other words“, he claims.
Why did the municipality of St-Genis Laval reject this LGBTQI+ festival, which is very popular with artists and supported by many institutions for 13 years?
According to Marylène Millet, the president of the city’s UDI, the partnership launched with Ecrans Mixtes by her municipal cinema, has not been validated by the City Council. “Neither the culture representative nor I had any knowledge of this project. This is a communication problem“, she says and explains that any new participation in projects must be confirmed by voting.
Marylène Millet responds to the accusation of censorship due to the LGBTQI+ theme of the festival:This is absolutely unrelated to the theme of the festival.”
“They jump around with the term ‘censorship’ because it’s a festival that’s supported by an LGBT association. I imagine that if the festival was about farm animals, we wouldn’t be suing today for intent. It makes me very sad. “Marylène Millet, president of the UDI of Saint-Genis-Laval
The city of St-Genis Laval specifies that it will offer a week of draws in early March. Coincidence? The Ecrans Mixtes festival will be held on the same dates.