The Stockholm International Film Festival has issued a heartfelt apology to Israeli TV creator and actress Aleeza Chanovitz after a misunderstanding resulted in her feeling that her invitation to attend and host a screening of her TV series, Chansi, had been revoked due to the Israel-Hamas war.
In a statement issued on Monday, the festival expressed deep regret and took full responsibility for the miscommunication that had caused distress to Aleeza Chanovitz and the team behind Chansi. Chanovitz had been scheduled to fly to Sweden for a November 16 screening of Chansi, a series that co-stars Henry Winkler. The Israeli series, which made its debut at Sundance, tells the story of an Orthodox Jewish woman who relocates from Brooklyn to Israel in order to assert her independence outside of her conservative religious community.
The series, produced by Kastina Communications, is primarily set in Israel. While Chanovitz was not available for comment, her criticism of the Stockholm festival was initially reported by Deadline Hollywood.
The festival clarified that incorrect information had been spread regarding the cancellation of Chansi and Aleeza Chanovitz’s attendance due to political viewpoints, emphasizing that this was not the case. In the wake of the October 7 attacks on southern Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization, the Stockholm festival had offered to organize an online Q&A for Chanovitz to participate in. Unfortunately, this led to confusion in communications with the Israeli filmmaker.
The festival’s statement continued by reiterating its unwavering support for its films and filmmakers, affirming that it would never refuse a participating director’s visit or cancel the screening of their work for political reasons. Expressing deep remorse for the unfortunate miscommunication that had caused pain for the team and the wider Jewish community, the festival extended a sincere apology.
Further elaborating on the series, Chansi, the festival acknowledged the significance of the American Jewish experience depicted in the show and praised the powerful narrative that portrays a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. The festival commended the series for shedding light on the challenges and triumphs faced by individuals in the pursuit of personal growth and fulfillment, regardless of their cultural or religious background.
Stockholm International Film Festival emphasized its commitment to fostering diversity, inclusivity, and artistic expression, affirming its dedication to providing a platform for storytellers from all walks of life. The festival also acknowledged the importance of engaging in open dialogue and creating opportunities for filmmakers to share their perspectives and connect with audiences from around the world.
Moving forward, the festival pledged to implement improved communication channels and processes to ensure that similar misunderstandings do not occur in the future. In addition, the festival expressed its willingness to work closely with Chanovitz and the Chansi team to address any concerns and facilitate a positive and collaborative experience for all involved.
In conclusion, the Stockholm International Film Festival extended its heartfelt apologies to Aleeza Chanovitz and the entire Chansi team, reaffirming its commitment to supporting filmmakers and promoting cultural exchange through the medium of film. Finally, the festival expressed its gratitude for the valuable insights and contributions of Israeli filmmakers and emphasized the importance of celebrating diverse voices and narratives within the global film community.