"Festival is now soulless", say filmmakers.
The directors of FrackNation, a "pro-fracking" documentary have slammed the organizers of the Frozen River Film Festival in Minnesota after they cancelled a screening of the film following pressure from environmentalists.
FrackNation had been accepted by the Frozen River Film Festival for a screening on Sunday but organizers announced at the weekend that they were canceling the screening - the first such cancellation in the festival's nine year history.
FrackNation Director Phelim McAleer said the cancellation was censorship and an attack on diversity.
"The film festival organizers seem to hate alternative points of view, they seem to want to quash diversity. They seem to be scared of the truth," he said.
The festival organizers gave a number of contradictory reasons for the cancellation. They told local newspaper Winona Daily News that they had done so after pressure from their partner film festival Mountain Film in Telluride and the Sundance Film Festival.
The organizers also said they were promised a representative of the film would be present for a Q&A.
However FrackNation Co-Director's Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda said no such arrangement had been agreed and that emails with the organizers would show this to be inaccurate.
"Basically the Frozen River Film Festival organizers have given in to bullying and taken the easy way out and censored a film that might offend environmental elites who think they know best. These people are cultural censors and don't want the truth about fracking to be shown to audiences," said McAleer.
Speaking to the Winona Daily News festival Board Chairman Mike Kennedy said the film festival had "searched their soul" and decided to cancel the film.
McAleer said this was evidence that the Frozen River Film Festival is a "soulless" film festival where no dissent or diversity is allowed".
FrackNation goes behind the extreme allegations of anti-fracking activists and tries to find the scientific basis for their claims. The documentary reveals that there is almost no scientific basis behind the claims of contamination and asks why so many people are pursuing multimillion dollar lawsuits against companies.
The New York Times described FrackNation as "methodically researched and provocative" and Variety magazine, the show business bible, describes the film as a "briskly paced mischievous pic".
McAleer, an Irish journalist, is threatened and becomes the victim of bogus 911 calls because he asks the difficult questions of anti-fracking activists. FrackNation was funded through a hugely successful online crowdfunding campaign. Using Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website, FrackNation raised $212,000 from over 3300 people. It was one of the most successful Kickstarter documentary campaigns ever.