This past weekend kicked off the 12th annual Tel-Aviv International Student Film Festival, an event that was to feature master filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard as one of its honorary guests. But this morning, it was announced that Godard has backed out due to "circumstances beyond his control." Those circumstances, according to someone close to the filmmaker's office, are related to political pressures brought about by a group called The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Godard received an open letter from the group last week urging him to cancel his trip to Israel, making comparisons between the Jewish state and South Africa during apartheid.

Considering the recent celebrations of Cannes 1968, which was partially shut down by protesting filmmakers, including Godard (who wanted the festival to continue, though without prizes awarded), it's interesting to see the Breathless filmmaker still boycotting festivals after all these years. Of course, politics aside, it's probably of great disappointment to the young future filmmakers who were looking forward to meeting the cinema legend.

Godard was set to hold master classes with Israeli film students. Until this morning, the festival's webpage featured a bio of Godard that included the following: "He will attend the festival, in his words, 'as a private person and an eternal student of cinema,' conveying his unrelenting enthusiasm with the filmic art to the newest generation of young filmmakers." Other filmmakers still listed as attending the event include John Sayles, Julio Medem and Sarah Polley.