Demme denied access to key Carter speech

Jan. 20, 2007 at 6:27 PM
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WALTHAM, Mass., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Brandeis University has denied director Jonathan Demme access to a speech by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, which Demme wanted to shoot for a film.

The university will not allow Demme to film Carter's upcoming speech, which the Oscar-winning filmmaker said he intended to use in a documentary about Carter, the Boston Globe reported.

The school's decision angered Demme and added another wrinkle to Carter's controversial visit to the university.

"When I heard that we had been denied permission, I was kind of incredulous," Demme said. "They have in a way diminished everyone's ability to add to the debate, including the Brandeis students themselves."

Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz had opposed Carter's visit unless Carter agreed to a debate with someone who held opposite views on his controversial new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."

Carter refused, but then agreed to appear next Tuesday after Brandeis students and faculty signed a petition, the newspaper said.

The committee that invited Carter supports the decision to exclude Demme. Kevin Montgomery, a senior who serves on the committee, told the Globe several documentary crews had asked to film the event, but allowing them in would have sacrificed too many student seats in the hall.

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