Stuart Wahlin, writer and director of upcoming thriller Hand of Glory, responded today to what he described as a “veiled threat from anonymous cowards” who allegedly plan to picket the film’s March premiere at the Indie Horror Film Fest in Chicago.
Wahlin said he received the message from an individual via Facebook, an online social-networking community. The message expressed concern regarding the content of the upcoming film, which centers on an alcoholic prostitute.
“When we learned your movie is to include a child-rape scene, we found that particularly troublesome,” the message indicated. “That eclipses the already-questionable glorification of alcohol abuse, degradation of women, violence, murder and immoral spiritual themes.”
The message signature claimed to be from a group calling itself the “Coalition for Decency and Ethics in Film,” or CDEF, but when Wahlin tried to reply to the individual’s message, he found the account had been deleted.
Calling the tactic cowardly, Wahlin noted the sender also suggested the group would “crash the party…to send a clear message that this type of irresponsible trash has no place in cinema.”
Wahlin, however, feels the anonymous sender is overreacting.
“I can count on one hand the number of people on my crew who’ve seen the film, so I know it hasn’t been leaked,” Wahlin stated. “Without having seen it, these [CDEF] people simply don’t know what they’re all in a huff about. This guy’s distorted summary of what we believe to be an excellent film is unfortunate, because I’m willing to bet it’ll be one of the tamer pictures at the festival.”
Wahlin said he hasn’t had an opportunity to discuss this development with promotors yet, but that he’d understand if asked to withdraw from the festival.
“There are a lot of great films screening that weekend, and I don’t want to be the reason someone’s big day is ruined if these people show up with megaphones and picket signs,” he concluded.