The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences issued a statement Saturday, calling President Trump’s executive order that could prevent Iranian director Asghar Farhadi from entering the U.S. to attend next month’s Academy Awards “extremely troubling.”
“The Academy celebrates achievement in the art of filmmaking, which seeks to transcend borders and speak to audiences around the world, regardless of national, ethnic, or religious differences,” the Academy statement reads. “As supporters of filmmakers–and the human rights of all people–around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”
The filmmaker, whose film “The Salesman” is a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, may be the most prominent person affected by Trump’s executive order, which also bars refugees from those seven countries for 120 days. The president said he intended to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists” and give priority for admission to Christian minorities, according to the Washington Post.
The film follows members of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, a civilian group that rushes to provide aid when bombs fall or attacks come in civilian neighborhoods. The group is credited with saving 75,000 lives during a bloody and extended war that has found Syrian civilians under attack by the Assad government, ISIS and the Russian military, among others.