A recent article by Variety declares the withdrawal of a Visa application from an Iraqi director, thus marking his absence at a Miami Film Festival that will be held soon. Hussein Hassan claims this is his way of peacefully protesting against President Donald Trump’s persistence on turning away many immigrants, in fear of terroristic repercussions.
While Hassan’s film Reseba – The Dark Wind will still premiere, this can possibly be the start of a more troubling issue within the international film industry.
International films are already limited enough to certain areas outside their countries. Most international films will hardly reach the big screens of U.S. citizens, unless exposed to them by being a film student or by being prominent in the film industry. With President Trump containing speeches that are adamantly against multiple cultural differences, why would a filmmaker from another country–who feels as if they are not welcomed–not peacefully protest by not contributing their presence, let alone their talents, to the western film market?
Is such an idea a long shot? Maybe, maybe not. But like it was mentioned by the Miami Film Festival director Jaie Laplante, film festivals are meant to explore differences among the art of filmmaking. If by chance, say Hassan had not decided to withdraw his Visa out of protest, but he still was denied, based on restrictions that may come into place during Trump’s presidency, that is still a roadblock.
Only time will tell if President Trump’s reign will seep into the art of filmmaking and distribution, but Hassan’s choice to be absent for his western film premiere looks like a starting point.