Culture | Bangladeshi film director nixes Hong Kong trip on Trump travel worries
Bangladeshi director Rubaiyat Hossain whose film Made in Bangladesh is selected to be part of the HAF 2017 organised by HKIFF. Photo: Rubaiyat Hossain via HAF handouts
Bangladeshi director Rubaiyat Hossain whose film Made in Bangladesh is selected to be part of the HAF 2017 organised by HKIFF. Photo: Rubaiyat Hossain via HAF handouts

Bangladeshi film director nixes Hong Kong trip on Trump travel worries

Hossain, who is Muslim and holds a Bangladeshi passport, is a graduate student in Cinema Studies at New York University

March 15, 2017 9:53 AM (UTC+8)

Rubaiyat Hossain, the director of Made in Bangladesh, decided not to travel to Hong Kong for the Hong Kong- Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) due to fears of not being able to return to the United States following Donald Trump’s new immigration restrictions.

Hossain, who is Muslim and holds a Bangladeshi passport, is a graduate student in Cinema Studies at New York University (NYU). While Bangladesh is not among six countries in the executive order issued on March 6, she said she fears not being able to return to the US once the restrictions kick in on March 16.

“I was all set to travel to Hong Kong and I got my visa and everything when Trump announced a second executive order,” she said in a phone interview.

“My date of coming back to the US was on 16th of March, that’s the day that the executive order goes into effect. I spoke  to my university and they said – we don’t advise you to travel right at this point,” said Hossain.

Trump’s first immigration ban targeted people from Muslim countries and caused chaos  with some Muslims being questioned and being denied entry, which contributed to her fears, she said.

Hossain also said she had spoken to a legal professional and was advised the same as what was given by NYU.

“I was scared, and I spoke to my lawyer and he said maybe it’s better that you travel later and you don’t travel right now”

Hossain’s film called Made in Bangladesh, is currently contending in the Asia Film Financing Forum organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

MADE IN BANGLADESH POSTER
Made in Bangladesh, one of the films at Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forums. Photo: Rubaiyat Hossain/Handouts via HAF

The film about a female garment factory worker looks at the conditions of factory workers in Bangladesh’s textile industry. It also explores gender stereotypes of women in Bangladesh.

It was selected alongside 23 other film projects for the Hong Kong event this year that allows film-makers from across the world to meet investors for film financing. The film is currently represented by the producer, François D’artemare, at the HAF event, which started on Monday and ends on March 16.

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