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Author Topic: Another Iranian director denied visa
Mohamad Khan
Babbler # 1752

posted 17 October 2002 11:44 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Iranian director hands back award

Iranian film director Bahman Qobadi has handed back a prize awarded to him at the Chicago Film Festival after the US authorities failed to issue him a visa to collect it.
Under new US visa regulations, introduced since the 11 September attacks, applicants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sudan are subjected to rigorous security checks before being granted a visa.

Mr Qobadi - who won the prestigious award for the film The Songs of My Motherland - said he was refused a visa despite the fact that he had filed his application four months ago and has travelled to Dubai twice for interviews at the US embassy.

In a letter to the festival organisers, Mr Qobadi said "a country which rejects the visa application of an artist, better keep the prize of its festival for its own authorities".

and he's not the first. just recently Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, Where is the Friend's House, etc.) was unable to be present at the New York screening of his new film "10" for the same reason. i saw it at the TO Film Fest, it was, not surprisingly, amazing, all filmed inside a car on digital camera. it's the first film i've seen of his that deals deeply with gender issues--very different from the other films of his i've seen. Ta`aam-e-Guilass (Taste of Cherry) is still the best.

then there's his protégé Jafar Panahi, director of another awesome film Daa'ire (The Circle), who was detained and chained to a bench upon arriving in the States for his well-deserved award. hisletter is worth a read:

On April 15, I left Hong Kong Film Festival to Montevideo and Buenos Aires Festivals through United Airline¹s flight 820. This 30-hour trip was via New York's JFK airport and I had to stay there for two hours and change my flight to Montevideo. Further to my requests, the staff of all the said Festivals had already checked if a transit visa is required and they assured me there is no need for such visa and moreover, the airliner issued me the ticket visa NY. But, I myself did ask the United Airlines staff for the need to transit visa at Hong Kong airport and I heard the same response. As soon as I arrived at JFK airport, the American police took me to an office and they asked for fingerprinting and photography because of my nationality. I refused to do it and I showed them my invitations of the Festivals. They threatened to put me in the jail if I would not do the fingerprinting. I asked for an interpreter and to call. They refused. Then, they chained me like the medieval prisoners and put me in a police patrol and took me to another part of the airport. There were many people, women and men from different countries. They passed me to the new policemen. They chained my feet and locked my chain to the others, all locked to a very dirty bench. For 10 hours, no questions and answers, I was forced to sit on that bench, pressed to the others. I could not move. I was suffering from an old illness, however, nobody noticed. Again, I requested them to let me to call someone in New York, but they refused. They not only ignored my request but also to a boy from Sri Lanka who wanted to call his mom. Everybody was moved by the crying of the boy, people from Mexico, Peru, Eastern Europe, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and...I was thinking that any country has its own law but I could not just understand those inhuman acts.

From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1448

posted 17 October 2002 04:15 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is it possible to be horrified, but at the same time not surprised? If so, I am.
From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 490

posted 17 October 2002 07:07 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Me too.

I've also observed that questioning anybody BUT the bureaucrats directly in charge of government policy is usually a bad idea, because almost NOBODY is correctly informed except the government officials.

Even in mundane cases like customs declarations I had a friend of mine cost me a lot in GST because he believed a minimum wage US postal service employee over Canada Customs on whether or not to put the insured value of a gift as the declared customs value.

My question to him afterwards was, "Why would you believe a dumbass USPS employee who's probably never been anywhere else in the world over Canada Customs officers who will not believe a package is a gift if it comes insured AND declared at the same value?"

But that's sidetracking, and the point I'm making is that I would recommend to any person of Middle Eastern citizenship to contact the US embassy in their country and get the skinny on visa requirements, not some overworked airline company employee.

From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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