By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 26 April 2013:
The Libya Movie Awards, which were today interrupted by a bomb threat relating to the venue . . .[restrict]- the Mahari theatre at the Radisson Blu hotel – have been postponed indefinitely.
“We have decided to suspend everything,” the director of the Italian Cultural Institute – one of the organisers of the film festival – Rubens Piovano, told the Libya Herald tonight. “We don’t have any confirmation yet but we were told that both the source of the information and the threat were credible.”
The second day of the Libya Movie Awards, a three-day festival of lectures and workshops for up-and-coming young Libyan filmmakers with screenings in the evenings, was interrupted at around 6 pm.
European diplomats were the first to be alerted to the threat during the showing of the first film of the evening and immediately left the theatre with their security details. Once the short film had ended, the organisers told the rest of the audience there was a problem and the event would have to close early.
“We don’t know if the threat was against the Libya Movie Awards but if this is true, it would be sad news,” Piovano said.
Screenings of the Libyan films and the award ceremony for prize-winning films entered into the Libya Movie Awards competition were due to take place tomorrow evening. The competition had attracted 80 entries and prizes included professional equipment to help boost the career prospects of Libyan filmmakers.
The event had taken months of preparation and hours of work by young Libyan volunteers and had been a great success. At yesterday’s opening ceremony, the Mahari theatre was packed with over 500 people, including the Minister of Culture, Habib Mohammed Al-Amin.
Piovano said that the organisers of the event, the Italian Cultural Institute, the EU and Libyan NGO 1Libya: “Hope to resume activities, show films and give the awards at some point in the future, depending on how the situation evolves.”
“We are working for peace and normality,” Piovano said, “and our will is to stay here and continue the mission.”
Tonight there was increased security around the Radisson Blu hotel, with barriers preventing vehicles from parking outside and roads at the side and back of the hotel closed and heavily guarded by security personnel. [/restrict]