U.S.-born French filmmaker Eugène Green has decided COVID-19 safety is the altar on which to sacrifice himself and is suffering the consequences after refusing to properly wear a mask at the screening of his latest feature “Atarrabi et Mikelats,” playing in the festival’s Zinemira competition.
After refusing, five times, requests made by festival officials to wear his mask correctly, Green was asked to leave and had his status as a guest of the festival revoked.
Local police were eventually summoned. An administrative complaint will have been filed, meaning that filmmaker could also be facing a fine.
The festival’s official statement reads:
On Wednesday evening, Sept. 23, at the Principe 9 movie theater, at the screening of “Atarrabi et Mikelats,” from the Zinemira section, an unpleasant incident occurred.
The director of the film, Eugène Green, was asked up to five times by the Festival staff to put on the mask and to put it on correctly. Finally, due to his lack of cooperation, the Festival management asked him to leave the theater. Two Basque Police agents informed him that an administrative complaint will be processed, for which he could receive a fine.
The Festival has suspended the accreditation of Eugène Green, who has lost his status as a guest of the Festival, for his lack of respect for the measures agreed with the health authorities and for the Festival staff and for putting the health of the spectators and the film crew at risk during and after the screening.
The Q&A continued with actors Lukas Hiriart and Saia Hiriart.
As detailed by Variety, the expulsion is indicative of the festival’s unwavering commitment to upholding the strictest health and safety protocols. Working with local and federal agencies before the event, a 200-page document detailing measures undertaken by the festival was supplemented with 20 protocols designed by the event itself and passed onto staffers.
Other measures include requiring pre-booked tickets for all screenings, a cap on gatherings of 10 people, and clearly marked social distancing regulations in all public venues. Theater seating has been reduced by as much at 60%, and after each screening 90 minutes is reserved for sanitization of the auditoriums.
All guests, presumably including Green himself, are required to fill out a responsibility statement which commits to taking necessary measures to “avoid causing situations likely to spread the COVID-19 virus.”