Venezuelan director Ignacio Castillo Cottin and his producing partner Nathalie Sar-Shalom have filed an appeal to re-screen “El Inca,” Castillo’s biopic about boxer Edwin Valero, in Venezuela.
Drama was pulled out from Venezuelan theatres in mid-December after the heirs of Valero secured an injunction, citing defamation and an invasion of privacy. Castillo and his team countered that the movie was not about Valero’s children but a tragic love story.
“It calls for a debate on the key issues facing Venezuelan today, gender and domestic violence,” he said.
Ironically, the country’s attorney general sided with the filmmakers but the judge ruled in favor of the Valero family. Valero was a great supporter of late president Hugo Chavez, even sporting a tattoo of Chavez’s face on his chest.
Castillo and Sar-Shalom are also planning to hold meetings in open spaces and universities to call into debate the issues of censorship and human rights violations.
“This is the first time that a local film has ever been censored in Venezuela,” said Castillo. “El Inca” was barely out for three weeks, before it was pulled. “Judging from the positive reviews and buzz around it, it would have been the number one movie; it scored the biggest opening last year,” said Castillo.
The ‘El Inca’ controversy brings to mind the case of Jonathan Jakubowicz’s 2005 kidnapping drama “Secuestro Express,” which greatly irked Chavez’s government. The government’s protests drove even more people to see it, but it was not censored. Jakubowicz did have to flee the country, however.
The controversy comes at a time when Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro continues to consolidate his power. However, after massive and violent protests in the streets, on Friday Maduro asked the country’s Supreme Court to roll back its bid to strip the National Assembly of its power, which would have given his government absolute power.