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Death threats doom Donkey debut

The Okanagan Film Festival (OFF) might be cancelled and the director says his life has been threatened over the plan to show a controversial film involving bestiality.

“I’ve had death threats over the last two days,” says Jeremy Heymen, director of the festival, which had scheduled a screening of “Donkey Love” on Oct. 13. 

“I’m disappointed in the community…but there are people in the community that are willing to support this.”

The film documents what Heymen describes as a father-to-son tradition of bestiality in the South American country of Colombia.

Heymen maintains that the film, while suggestive, does not support bestiality but, instead, just tells the story of some “really disturbing” things.

“I’m not a supporter of anyone having sex with animals,” he added.

The festival director said they had a deal almost worked out to show OFF films at the Paramount Theatre (Landmark) downtown Kelowna Oct. 11-14; however Landmark says they were never booked and only had brief discussions with OFF.

The Landmark head office says they were not aware of the content of the festival’s films until they read a story on Castanet. Because “Donkey Love” and other films were not rated, Landmark, by policy, could not show the unrated films and will not host the festival. Landmark and the Paramount Theatre are not associated with OFF.

"Nothing is a go, I've just had Landmark pull the plug," Heymen says.

Heymen has not officially cancelled the festival, but without a location to show the films, it is doubtful the event will take place next week.

Heymen, a documentary filmmaker himself, says he is documenting the current controversy over “Donkey Love.”

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