Halted

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

COLOMBO, July 15, 2013 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has halted a French cultural festival after it screened an internationally-acclaimed local film that the military considered insulting, authorities said Monday. The French Film Festival in Colombo was abruptly stopped by the management of the state-owned venue after the movie — set during Sri Lanka’s ethnic war — was screened, the French embassy and the government said.

A defence ministry official told reporters the film had been banned in Sri Lanka.

“It’s an illegal film which insults the security forces and the government of Sri Lanka,”said the official, Lakshman Hulugalle, adding that producers did not have permission to use military uniforms.

The venue management told the embassy it suspended the festival marking Bastille Day celebrations, on “account of the contents of and the sentiments contained” in the Sinhala-language film “Flying Fish”.

However, the embassy said it had been given clearance by the Public Performance Board, Sri Lanka’s official movie and drama censor, to screen the film last Thursday to an invited audience.

State media slammed the festival organisers after the movie was screened, saying “Flying Fish” was critic