Jan 27, 2017 04:07 PM EST

Iraqi Filmmaker Withdraws U.S. Visa Application in Act of Peaceful Protest

Iraqi Filmmaker Withdraws U.S. Visa Application in Act of Peaceful Protest
These days, protests have become the norm, and people are taking to various cities, media outlets, etc., to do so.  The upcoming Miami Dade College Miami Film Festival now joins the ranks, as an Iraq filmmaker has withdrawn his U.S.. Visa application in order to attend.

Hussein Hassan, the director of the award-winning Iraqi film Reseba - The Dark Wind, won't be attending the festival in an act of peaceful protest. The Miami Film Festival director Jaie Laplante said that they will still screen the film, but that they will be disappointed that the Hassan won't be attending.  

"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 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."

The producer of the film, Mehmet Aktas, made a statement, saying, "Hussein Hassan shot his film RESEBA - THE DARK WIND at 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 March 3-12, 2017.
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