Los Angeles, March 26 (IANS) Filmmaker Robert DeNiro has defended the involvement of anti-vaccination documentary “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe” in the 2016 lineup of the Tribeca Film Festival, stating that he is not “anti-vaccination” and wants the issue of autism to be “openly discussed and examined”.
The film festival is facing serious backlash for including “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe” from doctor-turned-documentarian Andrew Wakefield in its lineup. However, DeNiro, co-founder of the festival feels it is necessary to show a film like this, reports variety.com.
DeNiro said that he and his wife Grace Hightower “have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined.”
“In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening ‘Vaxxed’,” he added.
Though, he added that he is “not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination”.
“I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue,” he said.
Wakefield is a fervent believer in the link between vaccination and autism. He has also been the subject of many controversies, including being accused of professional misconduct and falsifying information as early as 1998 in one of his research papers.
The film premieres on April 24 at the fest, which will include a conversation with the filmmakers after the screening.