- Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018
- BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.
This past Tuesday (11/6) during opening night proceedings of the 32nd Israel Film Festival (IFF) at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse Productions, was honored with the 2018 IFF Achievement in Film and TV Award. But during his acceptance remarks, he was critical of President Trump, prompting some in the audience to walk out and others to boo. Blum was then escorted off stage, quite a departure from what was to have been a tribute to him.
The Israel Film Festival issued a statement today (11/7) clarifying what happened, noting that a majority of the 1,200 attendees was respectful as Blum made his remarks. Festival organizers did not in any way remove Blum from the stage. To protect him when an audience member in no way associated with the Festival charged the podium, event security ushered Blum off the stage.
“Over the past three decades, we have never shied away from allowing a filmmaker or actor to express themselves either personally or through their work,” said Meir Fenigstein, IFF director and founder. “We have often highlighted films that some may deem not to their liking or are controversial. We in no way condone violence but do wholeheartedly support dialogue that allows people to share ideas and viewpoints in a respectful way. Sadly, some audience members at last night’s opening greatly lacked that respect and turned an evening of celebration and recognition into something else.
“This is the first time we have ever experienced anything like this,” Fenigstein continued. “I am in total shock, but I realize that yesterday was a very tense day in America with the elections.”
The IFF continues through Nov. 20. Screenings will be held at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills and the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino.