Documentary “Erasing Dad” censored in Argentina

Trailer has English subtitles, click CC:

by Lauren Pringle, contributing blogger

Censorship is not common in Argentina, yet one film has recently become the subject of prior restraint. The documentary Borrando a Papá (Erasing Dad) was originally set to premiere on August 28th, but it was suddenly pulled down at the behest of a non-governmental organization that criticized its release.

DirectedPoster-Borrando-Papá-2014 by Ginger Gentile and Sandra Fernández Ferreira, and produced by San Telmo Productions (owners of the blog Filming in Argentina) Erasing Dad is about the plight of fathers that are “erased” from their children’s lives after a divorce or separation by the family court system that tends to rule against fathers.

Why the controversy over a film about divorce? The film denounces the “thousands of lawyers and psychologists who live off prolonging conflict in family court cases”, states co-director Ginger Gentile, as well as the organizations that receive subsidies by exaggerating domestic violence statistics. The filmmakers claim that resources are not being used to protect the real victims of domestic violence but rather separate fathers who only “crimes” have been to speak Russian to their son or that the mother fears that “he will do something”, as two cases in the documentary show.

“Technical problems” were cited for the cancellation of the theatrical premier of Erasing Dad but few weeks before this date an NGO started a petition on Change.org asking for the film to be censored. This NGO and others pressured the Argentine film board (INCAA), which funded the film, to not allow it to be premiered.

In Argentina family court, case files are not computerized, adding delays to a process that is already biased against fathers.

Many of the people asking for censorship were interviewed for the film, where they admit, on camera, that they do everything possible to prevent fathers from seeing their children. They also want to revert the assumption of innocence in these cases. In the words of one psychologist: “If I say that a father is guilty, he is guilty until he can prove his innocence. . . we need to change the constitution so that in these types of cases so the burden of proof is on the father.”

After the movie theater premier was cancelled, the filmmakers arranged a screening open to the public on September 2 at the Colegio Público de Abogados (city law guild) but it was cancelled a few days prior. “Technical difficulties”, were cited but leaked emails revealed that two government functionaries, including a city congresswoman, had personally asked for the movie’s ban, citing its “erred focus”. The congresswoman, Gladys Gonzalez, has debated with Gentile on the radio defending her position and has received a firestorm of criticism on Twitter and Facebook for her views.

The case has since taken to the press, with several media outlets commenting on the issue. “They say they don’t want to censor the movie, just to prevent its exhibition,” reported the newspaper Perfil regarding the opposing NGO. “That’s like saying you don’t want a person dead, you just want him to stop breathing”. Ámbito Financiero likened the situation to “an act of prior restraint”. Of the affair, CineFreaks said: “A movie’s projection shouldn’t be censored at the request of those who haven’t seen it. It’s already helped open up a debate on a long-forgotten issue: fathers”.

Fathers protest against not being able to see their children.

The movie has only grown in popularity and support across social media, both locally and internationally, garnering over 17,000 Facebook “likes”, over 60,000 trailer views.  “30 to 40 fathers suffering contact us a day” as co-director Fernández Ferreira mentioned in an interview with newspaper La Nación, which has also reported on the “strong controversy”. This level of media coverage and social media following is unheard of for a small documentary in Argentina.

The filmmakers and the protagonists of the film (fathers and experts) have been making rounds on television news shows to talk about not only the censorship but the business behind divorce cases.  Lawyers, judges and politicians have also begun to meet with the filmmakers and experts to see how the current system can be modified, as the reaction to the film shows that there is a critical mass of affected families.

This video has English Subtitles. Please click on the Right hand corner CC: English Subtitles

The support for Erasing Dad is far greater than the people who are against the film, as censorship in Argentina is unpopular (the dictatorship of 1977-1983 banned films and books). Also, many fathers have begun to speak out about a problem that until recently was taboo: that they can´t see their children after a divorce because the courts do not enforce visitation or they have been victims of false accusations. In the family court system, accusations are not investigated as they do not go to trial, rather, the law states that an accusation by the mother must result in the father being removed from the home for 90 days, whicborrando-a-papa-still-yurah can be renovated indefinitely.

While the movie focuses on Argentina, it demonstrates the issue is worldwide. Recently, Hollywood film star Jason Patric has raised awareness of parental alienation, educating the public and starting an NGO to help families in this situation called “Stand Up for Gus”.

Article 14 of the Constitution of Argentina states that all of the nation’s inhabitants have the right “to publish their ideas without prior restraint”. Gentile said “It’s weird for me as a filmmaker to see reviews of my movie by people who haven’t even seen it yet”. While Borrando a papá, Erasing Dad, remains unreleased, its directors continue to negotiate for its eventual exhibition in movie theaters and confirm that many organizations are coming forward to offer alternative screening venues.  When it premiers it is sure to keep making waves in the family court system by its claim that children have the right to love both parents.

One of the many news videos. This video has no English subtitles

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12 thoughts on “Documentary “Erasing Dad” censored in Argentina

  1. Little by little, the radical feminists are being made to tell on themselves. The dam that holds us back will soon burst. It will not be us MHRA’s that will be all washed up, however.

    Please see to it that this film gets shown on every venue that is not a hate mongering front.

    Thank you for your courage to fight like this. Men and boys need you.

    United, we stand a chance; Divided, we will be erased.

  2. Women are also victims of this system as parental alientation knows no gender, however, men suffer from discrimination because they are considered to be less fit or less necessary parents.

  3. Los felicito por la valentía de mostrar este tema “tabú” que pone los pelos de punta a muchas mujeres y sobre todo a mujeres con poder dentro del Poder Judicial. Lo digo después de haber sufrido años de maltrato y desconocimiento en Tribunales por atreverme a pretender la tenencia de mi hijo. Hombre? Marche preso!
    Por otro lado, es INCREIBLE la forma en que este documental y la censura y presión a que fue sometido no haya tenido eco en los medios. De eso NO se habla…
    Daniel Robles, Tucumán

  4. Hello.
    My name si Lucian Vâlsan and I am the European news director for A Voice for Men.
    I would like to ask you for permission to re-print this article on avoiceformen.com (obviously with credits).

    We feel that this is a very important news story in the context of highlighting the issues faced by men and boys and the price that many people have to pay for trying to at least speak about them.

    Thank you in advance, and keep up the good work!

    Best regards,
    Lucian Vâlsan.
    Contact: lucian@avoiceformen.com

  5. Pingback: Borrando a Papá—A documentary review

  6. I wouldn´t call them feminists as this is an insult to people who fight for equality and to eliminate gender discrimination. After the premier in cinemas in Argentina on October 2nd, 2014, a group of psychologists interviewed in the film got a court injunction that their testimonies had to be elminated. Not faces blurred, but cut out and that we couldn´t even transcribe what they said in text (they said that they do everything possible to keep fathers and children from reuniting). So we had to remove the documentary from our youtube channel and can´t show it in Argentina. It has been shown all over the world, including the supreme court of Costa Rica. We are appealing the injunction. The judge did not talk to us, ask for the releases, etc. It is very rare to have censorship in Argentina, this shows how powerful this group is. This was front page news in Argentina, and helped all the families fighting parental alienation to show how horrible the pro-alienation camp is.

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