CLIFF film festival lied to media about dropping antivax film

Three days ago I published Victorian film festival embroiled in anti-vaccination, social media trainwreck. The post detailed the dishonest behaviour of the organisers of the October 7-9 2016 CLIFF film festival (Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival). The organisers had attempted to portray themselves as disinterested observers, who had no anti-vaccination leanings, in their quest to show Andrew Wakefield’s dishonest, antivax vanity-film, Vaxxed.

The next day, September 21 2016, David Thrussell (the film festival director), lied to The Bendigo Advertiser journalist, Chris Pedler:

“We expected a little heat but not this. CLIFF has been subject to a well-funded and co-ordinated campaign that has included threatening behavior, intimidation, resulted in personal Facebook pages being hacked and offensive messages sent from those (hacked) pages.”

The organisers have steadfastly refused to provide evidence for the lies about critics, made by Thrussell, above.

Yesterday, September 22 2016, Thrussell lied again, in another article from Chris Pedler, stating that the festival had pulled the film. A statement from the festival is quoted:

“This is unacceptable,’’ the statement read. “It is with the utmost regret therefore that CLIFF is compelled, for clear reasons of personal and public safety, to withdraw the screening from the CLIFF 2016 programme,” the statement said.

The CLIFF committee said it was “a sad reflection on the state of Australian democracy that legitimate questions cannot be raised in a public forum without inciting a campaign of ill-informed and dishonest intimidation”.

Thrussell also lied about the the intent of Vaxxed, on the CLIFF Facebook page:

For the record, ‘VAXXED’ is not an ‘anti-vaccination’ film. It raises potential questions about one specific vaccine. The film makes this clear repeatedly.

Today, September 23 2016, Thrussell also lied to News Limited journalist, Benedict Brook:

He said those demanding it not be shown had not seen the film. “I have seen the film and it’s been grossly misrepresented. It’s not an anti-vax film, it’s about a whistle blower.

Many critics have already seen the dishonest anti-vaccination vanity-film. It is available online.

In a surprise twist it is now known that the Vaxxed showing has merely been brought forward one week, to be shown on October 2, in the same venue: the Theatre Royal Castlemaine.

The usual booking page for the CLIFF film festival is found on the Try Booking site:


The new booking page for the October 2 screening of Vaxxed is also on the Try Booking site, only this is managed via an anonymous Gmail address. The organisers are listed as the “Citizens for Freedom Film Festival”:


We know that the film festival organisers and the Theatre Royal Castlemaine are behind the new screening of Vaxxed, because anti-vaccination activists told us, in public:




At least the organisers of the CLIFF film festival are consistent.

The community of Castlemaine is deserves better than this from people who claim to represent them.

One film festival sponsor who has taken an ethical  stand in the interests of public health is Welshmans Reef Vineyard. Please support their stance by ordering a bottle or twelve:


The CLIFF sponsors page can be found here. Please let them know how you feel about the behaviour of the film festival, and how it has shaped perception of Castlemaine:




Update September 24 2016

Overnight, Andrew Wakefield posted an extraordinary video in which he accused critics of the CLIFF film festival, aided and abetted by the government, of “domestic terrorism”. He did. This is not a joke. Here’s an excerpt:


About reasonable hank

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