Watch CBS News

Court ruling forces Bryn Mawr Film Institute to screen Israeli film

Bryn Mawr Film Institute to screen Israeli film after court ruling
Bryn Mawr Film Institute to screen Israeli film after court ruling 02:49

LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) —  A court ruled Tuesday afternoon that the screening of a film at the Philadelphia Israeli Film Festival must go on after the venue canceled the event, citing concerns over planned protests.

"It's an awful feeling," Karnit Biran, the incoming festival director, said. 

Just a day before the screening of the Israeli film, "The Child Within Me," about an Israeli singer, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute canceled the showing.

"It does reflect the antisemitic feeling that we've been having lately on the Main Line and in general in America," she said.

But hours before Tuesday night's screening, things changed with a court ruling, forcing the theater to ensure the event goes on. 

Sam Scott, the executive director of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and a Jewish man, said leaders were just trying to avoid pro-Palestinian protests after the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel.

"And then, we started to see on social media as we started to get closer to the date that there was going to be a demonstration," Scott said. 

He said he believed canceling the screening was the best way to ensure safety. The issue was not the film itself.

"The real issue was that it felt like this wasn't the right time to be playing this film as part of the Israeli Film Festival right now," Scott said. 

"I think that this excuse — that of canceling the screening due to safety — it is just an excuse," said Jason Holtzman, who's with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

He celebrated the court order making the Bryn Mawr Film Institute honor its contract with the film festival.

"It's a shame that the film festival was forced to file an injunction, but all power to them," Holtzman said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.