The Ramdam Film Festival in Belgium has been cancelled due to security concerns over terrorist threats. The festival, originally set to run January 20-27, was set up in 2011 as a showcase for politically engaged films. Organizers were informed by authorities that the threat of a terror attack was “at a very high level” and quickly moved to evacuate the Imagix theatre yesterday.
The move highlights the heightened security situation in Europe and will be sure to raise some questions about extra measures being put in place ahead of the Berlin Film Festival launch in less than two weeks. That fest begins February 5.
“We have had no threats whatsoever,” a spokesperson for the Berlin Film Festival confirmed to Deadline. “We have 300,000 people attending the festival every year so we always have a high security presence. It is something we take very seriously and we are very well-equipped. We work closely with the authorities and we are able to adapt to any security situation.”
The Ramdam festival lineup included Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako’s Oscar-nominated Timbuktu about Malians fighting against Islamic extremism.
“We deplore and deeply regret having had to announce this decision to the audience in theaters,” a statement on the festival website read. “Since its creation in 2011, the Festival Ramdam has given the floor to plural sensitivities and advocated values of openness, dialogue, tolerance, freedom and exchange to the world.”
The move comes less than a fortnight after the devastating Paris attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and ensuing hostage crisis left more than a dozen innocent people dead and brought terrorism to heart of Western Europe. The attacks have left much of Europe in a state of heightened security alert.