Langara film festival sparks controversy

Column by Jeremy Matthews

Langara’s hosting of a controversial film festival last week has served to promote our college as a destination for artistic and political debate.

The decision of the organizers of the Just Film Festival to screen four films related to the Israel-Palestine conflict has been met with controversy, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing for our college.

Films portraying Israel in a negative light 

The Langara Jewish Student Association has claimed that three of the four films portray Israel in a negative and biased light. The festival’s website claims the event is “B.C.’s largest social justice film festival,” and the Langara logo is prominently displayed on the front page of the festival website.

Langara’s campus is not necessarily known as a centre for debate on the world’s hot global issues, but it should be. College and university campuses have always been environments that are conducive to the sharing of ideas. A little bit of controversy is a natural consequence of this.

Is Langara responsible?

Langara cannot be held responsible for the views of the individual artists whose films are being screened. These filmmakers have a right to express themselves and their views.

If Langara becomes known as an environment that is home to spirited and balanced debate, its esteem will grow in the eyes of Vancouver’s artistic community, and this is good for the college’s reputation.

The festival, and its surrounding controversy, is a boost to Langara’s profile. We should welcome it and hope that our campus plays host to more events like this that put our college on people’s radars.

Reported by Jeremy Matthews 

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