London honours Iranian filmmaker boycotting Trump's America

London honours Iranian filmmaker boycotting Trump's America
London's mayor said the British capital would hold a free outdoor screening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's Oscar-nominated film in defiance of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
2 min read
15 February, 2017
Farhadi is the first Iranian to win an Oscar for his film "A Separation" [Getty]

London's mayor says the British capital will hold a free outdoor screening of an Academy Award-nominated Iranian film whose director scrapped plans to attend the Oscars because of President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Asghar Farhadi's "The Salesman" will play in Trafalgar Square on Oscars day, 26 February, to celebrate London "as an international hub of creativity and as a global beacon of openness and diversity", Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a video statement on Tuesday.

"Londoners have always prided ourselves to our openness to the world, and what better way to do that than to come together to watch this Oscar-nominated film in one of the world's most famous public spaces."

Khan is organising the screening with a group of London filmmakers and actors, including director Mike Leigh and the supermodel and actor Lily Cole.

"We must show solidarity with Asghar and his principles, and against divisiveness and hate," Leigh said, urging Londoners to attend the screening.

Farhadi's attendance has not been confirmed yet, but he described the screening as "a symbol of unity against the division and separation of people".

Trump signed an executive order last month prohibiting entry to the United States to all nationals of seven Muslim-majority states - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

However, the ban has since been suspended by US courts.

In a statement published by the New York Times in January, Farhadi said that he had initially planned to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles, but had been forced to change his mind, even if an exception was made.

"I neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection, for I know that many in the American film industry and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are opposed to the fanaticism and extremism which are today taking place more than ever," he said at the time.

"However, it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip."

Farhadi's lead actress Taraneh Alidoosti has also announced that she would boycott the awards over Trump's "racist" visa ban, whether allowed to attend or not.

In 2012, Farhadi became the first Iranian to win an Oscar for his film "A Separation".