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Film maker's visa application under review

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/04/2016

Immigration New Zealand is still reviewing the decision to refuse entry to an Iranian film director invited to attend a New Zealand film festival.

Festival organisers asked Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to intervene after the New Zealand consulate in Washington rejected the visa application from Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami.

They had invited her to the Doc Edge documentary festival that runs in Auckland and Wellington from May 4 to 29.

Her film Sonita, about an Afghan girl refugee, will be a festival feature.

Ms Ghaemmaghami is based in Tehran and was travelling in the United States when she applied for the visa.

"They wrote a letter to me that because they are not sure that I won't stay in New Zealand forever, they can't give me a visa," she said.

"They told me that I don't have enough financial and family ties in my own country."

Festival directors Dan Shanan and Alex Lee wrote to Mr Woodhouse on Monday outlining Ms Ghaemmaghami's successes and her international reputation.

Immigration NZ's area manager Michael Carley said on Tuesday the decision was still under review and Ms Ghaemmaghami would be contacted this week.

"Immigration NZ is aware of her intended travel dates and will ensure all aspects of the review are completed and the outcome communicated to her well before these dates," he said.

There won't be any further comment until the review has been completed and Ms Ghaemmaghami has been told the outcome.

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