Freemuse is concerned about the decision of the Minister of Culture of the Faroe Islands Janis av Rana announced on 7 December 2020 to stop the public financial support of a film, because he found it personally unsuitable. Despite being recommended for financing by Filmgrunnurin, the film fund operating under the ministry of culture, the film was rejected by the minister. Film Skúla Scam / School Scam, directed by Tóki Jansson and produced by Jonas í Dali Wanger, was deemed problematic because of the language used in the production.
“Censoring artists for their artistic expression violates their basic human right to freedom of expression and is in breach of Faroe Islands’ international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Srirak Plipat, Freemuse Executive Director. “Artistic expression does not apply only to artworks which are regarded as positive or neutral, but also to those that aim to explore taboo topics. We urge the Faroe Islands’ authorities to reverse the decision and respect artists’ right to freedom of expression.”
According to Berlingske, commenting on his decision, the Minister said that: “I didn’t like what I saw at all. When I put my signature, it’s because I approve of it and say it (the movie, ed.) is great. And I could not do that with this film.” The minister further reportedly added that he does not like when people swear, and normal people do not do it.
“When I saw the response from the ministry, I had to read it again. I was just thinking, ‘ what?’ ,” the film’s producer Jonas í Dali Wagner told Berlingske. He has now complained to the Ombudsman.
Animated series Skúla Scam is a South Park dark comedy inspired series set in a school and is made by a 17-year-old filmmaker.
The cultural sector and civil society are prerequisites for an educated and enlightened public, and thus an investment in democracy. Culture must be free, based on personal involvement and voluntarism.