'Vaxxed' Filmmakers Plan Free Screening After Tribeca Controversy

The documentary is dubbed anti-vaccine propaganda but distributor Phillipe Diaz said it's 'a movie about making vaccines safer.'

AceShowbiz - Robert De Niro failed to bring "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" to bigger audience but the filmmakers are not giving up hope. Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor who directed the controversial documentary, is planning to screen it for free, if that's what it takes.

"Vaxxed" was scheduled to screen at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival before other filmmakers criticized chairman De Niro for including the arguable content. In an open letter, director Penny Lane called Wakefield "the widely discredited and dangerous anti-vaccination quack."

Phillipe Diaz, who will distribute the doc via Cinema Libre Studios, told THR that it will hit several theaters across Los Angeles, and will open this Friday, April 1 at the Angelika Film Center in New York City. However, the theater has been receiving backlashes, so that plan may be scraped. "If everything goes well, we will be in 500 theaters," said Diaz. "We will screen this movie for free if we have to."

Earlier in the interview, Diaz admitted that he was the one who proposed to having it screened at Tribeca. "I am the one who suggested we bring it to Tribeca, which I now feel very bad about," he said, adding that the media had a big influence on the cancellation. "The New Yorker is comparing the filmmakers at this table to Leni Riefenstahl. You think, 'Are they smoking too much?' " Riefenstahl is a propagandist for the Nazis.

"This is not an anti-vaccine movie. This is a movie about making vaccines safer," producer Del Bigtree said, adding, "We have just seen almost every single major news outlet in the entire country tell the public to not see a movie that they have not seen themselves."

Although the Tribeca cancellation put "Vaxxed" on the spotlight, Diaz thought it only harmed the film further. "People now think [Vaxxed] is full of hot air," Diaz said as quoted by Guardian. "I wish we could have at least screened at Tribeca. I wish that people had seen the movie - and then we could have a real debate about it."

On personal level, Diaz said De Niro liked the movie. The actor, who has a child with autism, "think it was an important film to show at his festival." But after discussions with other directors, he said in a statement that they "do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for."

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