Australian Director George Miller has thrown his support behind acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi who is boycotting the Academy Awards in protest at Donald Trump's visa ban on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations.
"It's just madness," he says. "It's irrational craziness that seems to be affecting the United States and the rest of the world."
This time a year ago, Miller was headed to the Oscars with 10 nominations for Mad Max: Fury Road, which won six. Now he has backed the Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Farhadi who has announced he will not attend the awards because of the 90-day entry ban on citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, even if he is granted an exemption.
In a statement, Fahadi said: "I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations."
Miller chaired the jury at last year's Cannes Film Festival that gave two awards to Fahadi's film The Salesman – best screenplay and best actor – which is nominated for best foreign-language film. He won the same Oscar for A Separation five years ago.
The Australian filmmaker called Farhadi "a great artist" and praised his stand in support of fellow Iranian citizens. One of the film's stars, Taraneh Alidoosti, has also announced she won't attend the Oscars on February 26 in protest.
"lt's just surreal and nuts when you've got such a great filmmaker who has had his own issues with his own government," Miller says. "What he said was perfectly put. I – and I imagine so many others – would support that.
"He's a high-profile Iranian and a great artist but what about the people who are more invisible? It's everybody else caught up as well. All I can say is it's madness and I think there's going to be more to come."
Miller was speaking after being announced as a jury member of a very different festival, Tropfest, next week. He will join jury chair Rose Byrne and fellow judges Sam Neill, Bruna Papandrea and Rachel Perkins at Parramatta Park on February 11, wellingtontimes reported.