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Visiting France

Strauss-Kahn-based film producers claim bullying by French elite

media Abel Ferrara movie "Welcome to New York", starring Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset

The controversial movie Welcome to New York, inspired by the scandal that cost Dominique Strauss-Kahn his job at the International Monetary Fund, will not be appearing in French cinemas when it is released on Wednesday. Its producers have chosen to release it on internet and claim that they have come under pressure from France's elite.

Abel Ferrara's Welcome to New York was already a hot topic, dealing as it does with a sex scandal that rocked France's Socialist Party ahead of the 2012 presidential election. 

Now its producers have caused even more controversy by choosing to release it on internet, thus falling foul of a French law that bans simutaneous release on video on demand (VoD) and in cinemas.

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It will be released in both cinemas and VoD in several other countries, including the US.

The film's producers, Wild Bunch Productions, have hinted that they have made the move to get around the French establishment.

Coproducer Vincent Maraval told the French Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche that he and his colleagues have come under pressure for the last three years, due to the "incestuous relationship between the elites, politicians and the media in this country".

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"Anywhere in the world, you can make a movie like Il Caimano about Berlusconi or Fahrenheit 9/11 about George Bush (...) but in France you can't speak about our present history," Maraval told the JDD, adding that no French companies were ready to finance the film.

In fact, Welcome to New York, which stars Gérard Depardieu, is an American movie.

Maraval claims that cinema chain and production company UGCis trying to prevent the film's release in Belgium.

UGC boss Alain Sussfeld told the AFP news agency that it refuses to show films whose producers have not given priority to cinemas.

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