The Cannes Palm, world renowned Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami has pulled out of a English National Opera production of Cosi Van Tuti, because he was "humiliated" by UK visa requirements.
The Telegraph has a source saying:
"Abbas found the visa application process unduly time-consuming and complicated. He was not treated in a respectful way by the British Embassy in Tehran. The ambassador did try to intervene at the last minute to help him, but by that stage it had all gone a bit too far. This is not him being a diva -Abbas is not that sort of person. He has worked freely in Italy and France and has never had an issue with his visa applications."I have blogged about Jacqui Smith's new anti-culture, bowing to the tabloids and the hate-mongers regime on visas for international artists.
Here's what some d**wad at the the UK Border Agency was quoted as saying in response to Kiarostami's statement:
He denied that staff had shown Mr Kiarostami disrespect and said "tough rules" were in place for all applicants. A spokesman said: "Fingerprint visas mean we can check everyone who wants to come to the UK against immigration and crime databases. These checks are a crucial part of securing the border and they are not something we will apologise for – they have already detected at least 5,000 false identities. The system is strict but it is also speedy – we complete most visa applications within a week."Not something we will apologise for", "visitors", "securing the border", "licensed sponsor" - 'Cool Britannia' is officially dead.
"We demand the utmost integrity and professionalism from our staff and are determined that the UK continues to stay open and attractive to visitors. That is why we have taken many steps to ensure that everyone – including foreign artists who make an important contribution to the UK – know about our tough rules, which include having a licensed sponsor."