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Ghaemmaghami visa decision reversed

The NZ Immigration Service decision to deny Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami a visa to attend next month’s Doc Edge Festival and Screen Edge Forum has been reversed.

The denial came from the Washington office of NZIS, while the London office has notified Ghaemmaghami that she will be issued with a visa.

Ghaemmaghami will now be able to present her Sundance winner Sonita at Doc Edge and conduct a masterclass for the Forum.

Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami’s Sonita

Ghaemmaghami issued this statement from California, where she’s currently staying before heading to Canada this weekend to present Sonita at Hot Docs. The statement said, “Thanks to all my filmmaker friends and documentary organizations from all around the world for showing their support in regards to the visa problem. Also, thanks to New Zealand immigration system for showing a responsible and quick reaction… Now I feel that I am a member of a big family of filmmakers all around the world who believe that there should not be any borders for artists.”

Doc Edge has also thanked NZIS for reconsidering its decision, and the people and organisations who supported the campaign to have Ghaemmaghami’s visa application reconsidered. “We are delighted that Rokhsareh will attend Doc Edge Festival and Screen Edge Forum and encourage everyone to attend the screenings.”

While the old saw has it that no publicity is bad publicity, Doc Edge’s Dan Shanan is happy that the situation has been resolved quickly and festival organisers can get on with everything else that needs doing in the lead up to the festival and forum.

The Doc Edge Festival will run 4-15 May at the Roxy, Wellington; and 18-29 May at Q Theatre, Auckland. The Screen Edge Forum will run 13 May at Park Road Post and 18 May at AUT. DOC Pitch will run 19 May at AUT.

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