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Balekempa withdrawn from festivals 'until further clarity' after sexual harassment allegation against Ere Gowda

Gowda's Balekempa was nominated to the India Gold section of the 20th Jio MAMI film festival, as well as the Oxfam award for Best film on Gender Equality. 

Shriram Iyengar

After the shocking allegations of sexual harassment against director Ere Gowda, the makers of his film Balekempa have withdrawn the film from upcoming film festivals, including the 20th Jio Mami International Film Festival. The decision comes after the film was dropped from the Dharamshala International Film Festival yesterday. 

The statement put out by Zoo Entertainment, the makers of Balekempa, reads: "As producers of Balekempa, directed by Ere Gowda, we feel a need to take decisive action regarding how we wish to take things forward with the film. As of now, we are withdrawing the film from all its festival commitments until we have further clarity on the facts."

Balekempa marks the directorial debut of Ere Gowda, and was nominated to the India Gold section of the 20th Jio MAMI International film festival, which begins on 25 October. The film was also nominated to the Oxfam award for Best Film on Gender Equality. Gowda has previously written Thithi (2016), which won the National Award for Best Film in Kannada in 2016, as well as the Golden Leopard for director Raam Reddy at the Locarno International Film Festival. The film premiered at the MAMI film festival in 2015 where it was awarded the Grand Jury prize for Best Film.

Balekempa is one of the many projects affected due to their relation with members or partners accused of sexual harassment. Among these are Rajat Kapoor's Kadakh, and AIB's Chintu Ka Birthday. 

In addition, the festival has also dropped several films for their extensive relations with members on the fringes of such controversies. Director Shazia Iqbal had recently protested the decision of the jury to drop her short film, Bebaak, simply for its producer Anurag Kashyap's association with Vikas Bahl. 

Earlier in the month, Kashyap stepped down from the board of the MAMI film festival, citing the reason of his association with Vikas Bahl. 

Related topics

MAMI Sexual harassment