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Iraqi director boycotts Miami fest over Trump immigration policy

Festival director says screening will proceed with deep sense of loss and disappointment.

Reseba – The Dark Wind director Hussein Hassan has withdrawn his visa application in peaceful protest over Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Miami Film Festival director Jaie Laplante said the festival will proceed with the North American premiere despite a deep sense of loss and disappointment.

Trump is expected to sign an executive order imminently that will restrict visits and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries including Hassan’s native Iraq.

The other six are Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.

“One of Miami Film Festival’s core values is to bridge cultural understanding, to provoke thought and discussion, and The Dark Wind is one of the most timely, moving and important films in this year’s festival,” said Laplante.

“It is essential that roadblocks not be put in place that will present artists from the free discussion of their work, and equally essential that the world’s artists are made to feel welcome in the United States.”

Producer Mehmet Aktas issued the following statement: “Hussein Hassan shot his film Reseba – The Dark Windat the front line of the war between the Kurds and the so called Islamic State. Hussein Hassan risked everything to present the true face of the war.

“Hassan is not a fighter at the front line; he fights with his artistic soul against terrorism and crimes. The US are the closest and most important allies for Kurdistan. Now it seems to be impossible for a Kurdish artist to visit the US to present his work.

“As an act of peaceful protest, Hussein Hassan decided to withdraw from his visa application. We as Kurdish filmmakers hope that Donald Trump will acknowledge the Kurdish people.”

The 34th Miami Film Festival will take place from March 3-12. 

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