Visa Finally Granted For Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami
Doc Edge are thrilled to announce that a visa has been granted for Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami to attend the Documentary Edge International Film Festival in New Zealand.
Ghaemmaghami has just received notification from the New Zealand Immigration Office in London that the original decision to decline her visa application to enter New Zealand has been reviewed and she will be issued with a visa. The internationally acclaimed director is incredibly relieved with the decision, which will allow her to see her film Sonita screened for the first time in New Zealand, and to hold a masterclass lecture as part of the Screen Edge Forum.
Ghaemmaghami is very thankful for all the support she received from New Zealanders and abroad, and has issued this statement;
“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 to request of more than 1000 people. I am so excited to be able to present my movie to New Zealand audiences in the prestigious Doc Edge Festival. 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.”
The original decision to decline the visa application saw the Festival directors, Dan Shanan and Alex Lee, send an open letter to the Minister of Immigration, Hon Michael Woodhouse, on Monday 18th April. Amnesty International released a statement in support of Ghaemmaghami, and a petition was started on April 16th calling for New Zealand Immigration Service to allow Ghaemmaghami to visit. The petition had already reached its goal of over 1000 signatures by this morning.
Doc Edge have issued this statement:
“Thanks NZIS for reconsidering its decision. We also thank our wonderful caring community for the wide support over the last few days. We are delighted that Rokhsareh will attend Doc Edge Festival and Screen Edge Forum and encourage everyone to attend the screenings. Doc Edge look forward to welcoming the many international guests to New Zealand, and opening this stimulating festival which features 52 feature length and short films.”