Iranian director in Oscars boycott to premiere film in London on awards night
The Oscar-nominated Iranian director boycotting the awards because of Donald Trump's travel ban will premiere his film in London on the night of the ceremony.
Director Asghar Farhadi has said he will he will not attend the awards show in Los Angeles even if he is granted permission to enter the country following the ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
His film The Salesman, which will compete for the best foreign language film at the star-studded ceremony, will be unveiled at a free screening in Trafalgar Square just hours before the prizes are handed out.
The UK premiere is being organised by London mayor Sadiq Khan, actress Lily Cole, producer Kate Wilson and film-maker Mark Donne and will include a programme of readings and speeches from actors and directors including Mike Leigh.
Farhadi has previously announced he will not to attend the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood, regardless of whether he is offered special dispensation to attend by the US government, in solidarity with those affected by the ban, but i t is not yet known if he will attend the event in London.
He said: "Screening The Salesman in Trafalgar Square has a great symbolic value for me. The gathering of the audience around The Salesman in this famous London square is a symbol of unity against the division and separation of people.
"I offer my warmest thanks to the mayor of London and the cinema community for this generous initiative. I welcome and appreciate this invaluable show of solidarity."
Mr Khan added: " On the night of the Oscars, it's absolutely fantastic to be able to screen the UK premiere of The Salesman in Trafalgar Square. I'm delighted to welcome people from across the capital and beyond to share in this celebration of London as an international hub of creativity and as a beacon of diversity.
"Londoners have always prided themselves on their openness to the world, and what better way to do that than to come together to watch this powerful film in one of the world's most famous public spaces."
One of the stars of The Salesman, Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, has already said she will not attend the Oscars in protest over Mr Trump's immigration policies.
She tweeted: "Trump's visa ban for Iranians is racist.
"Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won't attend the Academy Awards 2017 in protest."
Organisers of the Oscars previously said it was "extremely troubling" that the makers of the film could be barred from entering the US.
Farhadi's film A Separation won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2012.