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Makers Speak Out After Film On Vaccines, Autism Is Pulled From TriBeCa

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The makers of a documentary claiming a link between vaccines and autism have spoken out.

Their film 'Vaxxed: From Cover Up To Catastrophe' was pulled from a prestigious film festival.

As CBS2's Jericka Duncan reported, Vaxxed has been axed from New York's TriBeCa Film Festival. The trailer, posted online, is all that audiences can see of the documentary.

The film had been scheduled for a high-profile screening at the festival late next month until festival co-founder Robert DeNiro pulled it from the schedule on Saturday.

DeNiro, whose son has autism, issued a statement saying, "my statement in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it... we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for."

Vaxxed producer Del Bigtree said cancelling the screening amounts to a suppression of the truth.

"I have nothing but respect for DeNiro and TriBeCa, I can't imagine what kind of pressure came down that would make them pull a movie that they were obviously behind in the beginning," he said.

The film argues that government interests have suppressed evidence of links between vaccines and autism.

Critics said the film's content, and those delivering it, have been widely discredited and do not deserve a public forum, especially a festival as respected as TriBeCa.

They pointed out that the film's director Andrew Wakefield had his medical license revoked in 2010, partly for ethical violations.

"Well, the TriBeCa Film Festival does have a reputation, and by lending it to a film by somebody who we know is irresponsible, I think is really dangerous for the film festival. And it's probably a very good idea they eventually decided to withdraw this film," LA Times film columnist, Michael Hiltzik said.

An online petition aimed at getting the film to be shown at the festival has more than 20,000 signatures so far. The festival runs from April 13 to the 24.

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