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New Zealand Guild Joins Condemnation of Trump’s Travel Ban

The screenwriters’ guild in New Zealand has joined the growing film industry chorus denouncing President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

“The New Zealand Writers Guild is troubled by recent moves by the U.S. government to discriminate on the basis of birthplace and the religious beliefs of the community people were born into. The NZWG supports our colleagues in the Writers Guilds of America who have vowed to oppose such measures,” said New Zealand Writers Guild acting president Allan Baddock. “We stand united with our U.S. counterparts and Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi and others unfairly affected.

“New Zealand has a centuries-long tradition of welcoming those from other lands, of varying beliefs, and New Zealand writers have always recognized and welcomed differing views for the vitality, depth, and richness they bring to our own views of the world and to our creative lives.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA railed against Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order barring people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the U.S. The ban suspended entry of refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and imposes an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. A 90-day ban was also placed on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Local reports in Asia suggest that the order is having an effect in countries and on citizens from outside the seven named in the executive order. Asian media are reporting that two sportsmen, Abid Hussain Khan and Tanvir Hussain, from Indian-controlled Kashmir have been denied visas to travel to the U.S. to compete in a winter sports event in New York state. The two were told by the U.S. Consulate in New Delhi that their applications had been denied because of the new policy. Their plight was highlighted on Facebook by Clyde Robideau, mayor of Saranac Lake, where the games are scheduled to take place.

The upcoming Berlin International Film Festival has also announced that it would expand its support for refugees. “The festival has always made a point of fostering understanding, tolerance, and acceptance, as well as responding to current events in society – not only with its film program, but also with many other activities,” it said in a statement.

The Berlinale’s practical measures include cooperation with the Uberleben Center; a movie mentoring project for refugees; and the employment of 20 former refugees as guest trainees at the festival. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made her country one of the most welcoming of refugees flowing to Europe from the trouble spots in Africa and the Middle East. But she has faced a political backlash as a result.

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