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Colombia too dangerous for critical journalists, film director says

"Guerrilla Girl" portraits a young girl who joins the FARC after receiving death threats from paramilitaries linked to the Colombian military.

(8 December 2006) - AWARD-WINNING film director Frank Piasecki Poulsen has chosen to present his latest film in Cuba, instead of Colombia, for "security reasons". According to Poulsen there is a witch hunt against critical journalists going on in Colombia, and the Uribe government is using all means to silence opposition and critical media, including death squads.

The controversial documentary Guerrilla Girl is having its Latin American premiere during the 28th Havana International Film Festival in Cuba, later this month. This film is about a young girl who enters the Colombian guerrilla organization FARC and her training to become a guerrilla soldier. It describes the transformation this young city-girl undertakes, when having to adapt to strict military training and primitive conditions of life.

Earlier this year, Guerrilla Girl has been a major success at international film festivals in Europe and the USA, including the prestigious Amsterdam Festival and Silverdocs.

"My dream was that Guerrilla Girl should have it's official Latin American premiere in Colombia. But that's impossible right now", said film director Poulsen speaking to ANNCOL from Havana.

The Danish director fears for his safety after the Uribe administreation has intensified a crack-down on independent journalists. On November 19, Colombia's secret police DAS detained Fredy Muñoz, a correspondent for the news channel TeleSUR, charging him with "terrorism".

Being publicly accused of 'terrorism' is often an invitation for assassination attempts in Colombia, a country that has the highest number of journalists killed by paramilitary death squads in the world.

According to Poulsen, the Uribe government has even unsuccessfully tried to convince Danish authorities to stop the documentary, produced by Zentropa, a well-known Danish production company owned by Lars Von Trier. And Colombian police has stepped up a campaign to stop street vendors from selling bootleg copies of Guerrilla Girl in several cities in Colombia.

"I'm glad the Havana International Film Festival has selected Guerrilla Girl for this year's official program. In this way a wider Latin American audience will be able to see this documentary, that the Colombian government so desperately tries to ban", Poulsen says.

(New Colombia News Agency - Maria Engqvist)

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