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Kurdish filmmaker cancels US visit over Trump actions

Hussein Hassan

LOS ANGELES: Citing President Donald Trump’s visa crackdown, Kurdish filmmaker Hussein Hassan has scrapped plans to attend the US premiere of his critically acclaimed film on the Yazidi minority, it was announced Friday.
Jaie Laplante, director of the Miami Film Festival, where the Kurdish-Iraqi movie “The Dark Wind” is to be screened in March, said Hassan had decided to withdraw his visa application in protest at Trump’s forthcoming executive orders that are set to suspend the US refugee program and restrict visas to citizens of certain countries, including Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
“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,” Laplante said.
“It is essential that roadblocks not be put in place that will prevent 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.”
Hassan’s move comes days after the Iranian star of the Oscar-nominated film “The Salesman” said she would boycott the upcoming Academy Awards to protest what she calls Trump’s racist policies.
“The US are the closest and most important allies for Kurdistan,” the film’s producer Mehmet Aktas said in a statement.
“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,” he said.