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Joint Statement by All Five Directors Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, 2017

As the authoritarian Trump regime rears up in spiteful revenge against America’s creative artists by slashing federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for Humanities, and even PBS, the five directors whose films are nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars have issued a joint statement condemning the darkness they see rising. These five filmmakers have bigger balls than every cowardly Republican in Washington put together.

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Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film Statement by all Nominated Directors, 2017

On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic
disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so
many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading
politicians.

The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means
to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans:
the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly “foreign” and the
belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent
people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all
not so different.

So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don`t want to overestimate the
power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other
people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and
compassion – even for those we have been told are our enemies.

Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we
refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best
religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations
and the freedom of the arts.

Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For
this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are
working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and
human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.

Martin Zandvliet – Land of Mine ( Denmark )
Hannes Holm – A Man Called Ove ( Sweden )
Asghar Farhadi – The Salesman ( Iran )
Maren Ade – Toni Erdmann ( Germany )
Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Tanna ( Australia )