Monday, October 27, 2008

UN pulls sponsorship from a film about the MDG's

A film that compiles different stories about each of the Millennium Development Goals is making film festivals now. The film premiered in Rome last Thursday.

The film titled '8' gathers eight different film-makers to do a story on a different MDG.

The film is premiering with a little controversy. The United Nations originally planned to sponsor the film, but has now withdrawn it's support.

The withdrawal is due to concern with a story that the UN fears may be insulting to Islam.

News 24 reports on what the story depicts, and why it caused the UN worry.

But it is Indian director Mira Nair's take on gender equality that sparked a row with the United Nations Development Programme, which eventually withdrew its support from the project.

Nair's short film portrays a Muslim woman living in New York who decides to leave her husband and young son because she is in love with a married man.

"In April 2008, the UNDP came to us and demanded that we pull Mira Nair's film or they would withdraw their logo from the project. They said it risked insulting Islam," French producer Marc Oberon said after a press screening in Rome.

"We decided we could not take it out, so they pulled out."

UNDP spokesperson Adam Rogers told Reuters the agency had felt Nair's work "would get caught up in controversy".

"We were afraid it would bring the wrong kind of attention to the cause of promoting gender equality," Rogers said by phone from Geneva. He said the European Union had also backed out of the project. Nair, in Rome to promote 8, defended her choice, saying it was about a woman's right to express herself.

"It's a storm in a teacup frankly. It's not what the film deserved," she said.

"My film is inspired by a true story and was written by the person who lived that story. Freedom does not come neatly packaged. It comes with pain," she said.

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