Controversial film debuts at Silver Springs International Film Festival in Ocala
Published April 10th, 2016
OCALA, Fla. -- A controversial documentary banned by two major film festivals airs Sunday at a film festival in Marion County.
"It's not the first film we've screened that brings up issues, "said Greg Thompson. Thompson is the director of the Silver Springs International Film Festival held at the Marion Theatre in Downtown Ocala.
Thompson says he has no second thoughts about allowing the controversial film, "Vaxxed", to air at his film festival. "We just don't want to be told what we can put in our movie theater," Thompson said.
The film has been banned from the Tribeca Film Festival and Worldfest Houston Film Festival over its controversial subject matter.
"This whistleblower from the CDC, Dr. William Thompson, had basically come forward online saying 'I worked on the MMR and autism study back in 2004, and we manipulated data and we cheated on that study'," said the film's producer, Del Bigtree.
Bigtree says after receiving that information, he decided to create the film. Robert Deniro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, issued a statement on the film festival's Facebook page saying, 'The Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community... we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion.'
Thompson says after hearing about the film being banned, he still supported it. "We are here because it is a good film, we are an independent film festival, and we give artists a place to screen their work. We trust this community in which we have an incredible relationship with to make their own decisions," Thompson said.
Creators of the film say the film touches on a major issue around the world looking to answer the question: Is there a connection between this particular vaccine and autism? Some speakers Sunday said people should do more research about certain drugs they're prescribed.
The film airs Sunday at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. at the historic Marion Theatre.
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