Inside Move: NYFF has ‘Ten’ minus helmer

Kiarostami denied visa

Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian director who had hoped to accompany his movie “Ten” to its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 29, has been denied a visa by the U.S. consulate in Paris.

In the last 10 years, Kiarostami had been to the States seven times for various events, but this is the first time he has been denied a visa.

“Ten” reps the fourth time that Kiarostami has had a film accepted into the NYFF. A fest rep said two filmmakers from the People’s Republic of China also had difficulty getting visas but ultimately received them.

“Getting visas for Iranians has never been easy,” NYFF director Richard Pena told Daily Variety. “This time we were told it would take three months. It used to take about 30 days.”

Pena, via the Film Society of Lincoln Center, sought the visa in conjunction with Harvard U. and Ohio U., where Kiarostami was also skedded to appear with his film.

“It seems to me that policies that deny or make difficult visas are very shortsighted and counterproductive,” Pena said. “Especially at a time when we need more contact with the Muslim world, particularly their finest artists and thinkers.”

In a recent letter to Pena, Kiarostami wrote, “I certainly do not deserve an entry visa any more than the aging mother hoping to visit her children in the U.S. perhaps for the last time in her life.… For my part, I feel this decision is somehow what I deserve.”

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