Read the Joint Statement from the Foreign-Language Oscar Nominees

February 26, 2017
Source: TFS

Asghar Farhadi

Let their voices be heard! This is important. We try to keep politics out of the discussion here on FS, but this statement deserves our undivided attention. And I stand by and support all of these filmmakers and their message. Just in time for the Academy Awards this weekend, the filmmakers behind the five nominated Best Foreign-Language Films have released a joint statement. The statement condemns the ridiculous Muslim Travel Ban in America and allows them to express their sympathetic feelings towards human rights and a desire to support all people no matter where they're from or the color of their skin or what religion they choose to follow. It makes it even more powerful that all of these filmmakers came together to say this.

Here is the official statement (found via The Film Stage) released and signed by all five of the Best Foreign-Language Film nominees at the 89th Academy Awards. Take a moment to read everything they have to say:

On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.

The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly “foreign” and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don’t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and compassion – even for those we have been told are our enemies.

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist — for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity — values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.

Martin Zandvliet – Land Of Mine (Denmark)
Hannes Holm – A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
Asghar Farhadi – The Salesman (Iran)
Maren Ade – Toni Erdmann (Germany)
Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Tanna (Australia)

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (seen in the teaser photo above when he won the Oscar in 2012 for A Separation) is the centerpoint of the discussion this year. Farhadi announced that, due to the travel ban, he has chosen not to attend this year's ceremony (he'll be represented by two prominent Iranian Americans involved in space travel instead). Farhadi's film, The Salesman, is an outstanding film - read my review from Cannes - and may end up winning the Oscar anyway. Sadly, there's also news (via AP) that Khaled Khateeb, cinematographer for the Oscar-nominated short The White Helmets, has been denied entry into the US to attend the Oscars. This is wrong, and just makes me sad to hear. Which is why this message is so important.

In times like this, it's vital to bring even more attention to art and artists who are resisting any way they can. Using microphones, cameras, paint, pens and paper, they show us what really matters, and how we can join them in the fight for peace and prosperity. No matter who wins, we must support these artists and their art.

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  • GonnaDieNow
    There is no Muslim Travel Ban. Get your facts right.
    • Mr Universe
      You're damn right. Here's an idea, Alex: how about these foreign film directors pay for their own U.S. distribution? Talk about an out-of-touch bunch of nuts...
      • These days you don't need the old ways to distribute films. They could offer it as digital download so who exactly is out of touch with the times?
        • Mr Universe
          The people who think that the American public give a crap.
    • LOL. Okay. Simantics.
      • Mr Universe
        "Semantics" is spelled with an "e".
        • Regardless. Misspelling doesn't invalidate my statement.
          • Indeed. You're correct.
          • Mr Universe
            It indicates that you aren't intelligent enough to understand the context.
    • Yes there is. To pretend that religion is not the reason for the travel ban is insanity.
      • Derek NOLA
        seriously? largest muslim countries arent even on his list. But hey just make it up if you cant find any facts to justify your claim!
        • Derek, seems like you're upset? Why so serious Derek?
      • Yeah Alex! Get your facts straight! Because it's obvious to everyone that the only requirement to be a "Muslim Ban" is to include the countries with the highest population of Muslims! You can't just choose the ones Steve Bannon wants! C'mon Alex! Jeepers buddy. Like, Zoinks.
        • backwardsprogress
          Travel Ban - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - Countries with the largest Muslim Population - Indonesia (209.1 million) Pakistan (176.2 million) ... India (167.4 million) ... Bangladesh (134.4 million) ... Nigeria (77.3 million) ... Egypt (77.0 million) ... Iran (73.6 million) ... Turkey (71.3 million) ... Only country on with a high Muslim population on the Travel ban? Iran. It's a Muslim Ban!!! ... Clearly... /s
      • backwardsprogress
        Sorry Alex, but if we were to pretend that religion was the reason for the ban, then we clearly picked the wrong countries. Iran is the only country on the top 10 list but everyone should know why Iran is on that list. Insanity would believe that this ban is in fact a "Muslim ban" when logical facts prove otherwise. Travel Ban - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - Countries with the largest Muslim Population - Indonesia (209.1 million) Pakistan (176.2 million) ... India (167.4 million) ... Bangladesh (134.4 million) ... Nigeria (77.3 million) ... Egypt (77.0 million) ... Iran (73.6 million) ... Turkey (71.3 million) ... Only country on with a high Muslim population on the Travel ban? Iran.
  • Alex, it appears your post is instigating a discussion in the Executive Order language, which states that President Trump's order is called a "Travel Ban." This ban is for 7 countries, which are the following: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. These countries' primary religion is Islam, even though there is strong data to support a high percentage of asylum seekers from Iraq, for example, to be Christian. Regardless, it's from the high population of Muslims in these 7 countries that the nickname "Muslim Travel Ban" came about. Calling it a "Muslim Travel Ban" causes some folks to be upset. I think they're worried about offending someone, which is odd considering these may be the same people who once stated they hate "political correctness." So, in essence, you "saying it like it is" and cutting out political correctness is hurting the feelings of people who now changed their mind and want you to be politically correct in order to protect their ideas of the "Travel Ban." You may have opened Pandora's Box Alex. P.S. This whole debate could have been avoided had the Executive Order included Iceland, New Zealand, and Canada. Just sayin'. That being said I'm sad to hear these filmmakers won't be at the awards. For me personally, I've stopped watching the awards with regularity in the last 10 years. No real logic behind it...I guess I find them boring in my old age.
    • Thanks. This is exactly why I don't ever post about politics... Ugh.
  • Darth Steef
    Alex, thank you for the post and these true words in times of lies, hate and fear!
  • Smallchief
    I'm sorry but how is this a Muslim ban? Cairo, Indonesia, and the Philippines aren't included, among many others, and they have the greatest populations.
    • Darth Steef
      Just as an information, the population of the Philippines is > 90 percent Christian and 5 % Muslim …so why again should they be included?
      • Smallchief
        Yeah, sorry, that was my bad. I actually meant Malaysia but wrote the Philippines instead for some stupid reason.
    • Just because other countries that have Muslim populations aren't included doesn't mean it is not a Muslim Travel Ban. It is a propaganda-fueled illusion to make the public think that it has anything to do with terrorism, when the facts clearly show that these 7 countries banned have never once killed a single American in any attack. I have nothing more to say on this. It is known as a Muslim Travel Ban because that's what it is.
      • Smallchief
        Yeah man, I can respect not wanting to get into it in the comments seeing all the postings now, especially having to say the same thing over and over. You don't know me from a hole in the wall either and it's easy to forget you have no clue where I'm coming from; not a good forum to engage. I imagine too that you thought long and hard about what you wanted to say anticipating much of this. Takes guts.
  • RAW_D
    The world is one hypocritical mess. Man will ALWAYS disappoint, will always make mistakes. Don't trust man to make the right decision. They will fail. This is the world we live in.




Alex's Top 10 - 2016
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3. Arrival
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