Sir Richard Branson has blogged about the immigration bans imposed by the US government over the weekend.“There are many reasons to be concerned about the Executive Order issued by US President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon, suspending all refugee immigration for 120 days and specifically barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa from entering the United States.“The ban, which went into effect immediately, has already caused enormous confusion and despair. Hundreds have been stranded at airports around the world and thousands more are left in uncertainty. The growing number of those denied entry to the US includes students with valid US visas, academic researchers en route to their workplaces and conferences, and even several people who have risked their lives working as interpreters for US forces in Iraq. The people affected are as diverse as they can be, yet they share one thing in common: they pose no threat whatsoever to America’s security.“What worries me the most is that the President’s order breaks with well-established US humanitarian policy – and international law. Opening her door to “the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, has made America great for more than 240 years. If life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been the engines that power the American Dream, immigration has been its fuel. And many among the tens of millions who have arrived at American shores in hope for a better life were refugees who lost everything – from European Jews escaping persecution in Nazi Germany to Vietnamese boat people hoping to start a better life after the end of the war that ravaged their country.“To them, the US stood and continues to stand for a life free from oppression and fear, a haven of freedom and opportunity, regardless of the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs. Just imagine how many of today’s truly American success stories are refugees’ stories. Albert Einstein and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin and artist Wyclef Jean stand for millions of others whose ethnicity or beliefs didn’t matter. What mattered was that they needed a compassionate welcome and a fresh start.“I fear that Friday’s order has set a dangerous precedent for the systematic exclusion of those who come full of hope and with the best intentions. And I’m reminded of the darker chapters of US history, like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 or the ineffable internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II – racist policies that caused untold suffering. “The necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion,” said the spokesperson of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and I agree wholeheartedly.“And praise to the America’s northern neighbour whose Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote earlier that “Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.” I haven’t given up hope that Congress, across the aisle, will come to the same conclusion.“In the meantime, I applaud the thousands who have taken to the streets and the airwaves in solidarity across the US; the hundreds of lawyers camping out at airports and donating their time to fight the good fight on behalf of those caught up in this mess; the brave federal judges who have shown that checks and balances are still in place. They all stand for a kinder, gentler and more welcoming America – the America that is admired the world over.“The Virgin family includes many companies in the US and elsewhere that are proud to employ people from all around the world, and I speak on behalf of us all in saying we stand together in valuing an open and diverse society. As George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, tweeted: “The best of America is open, courageous and compassionate. That’s when we’re strongest. The EO should be withdrawn.” Mary Wittenberg, CEO of Virgin Sport, also wrote to her team: “We stand for diversity – of all types. We welcome all to join us, and we are inspired by the values of our birth countries, the United States and the UK. With chaotic winds of change whipping, we will stand strong for, and on the side of, our values and people.”“Like many others, including Google’s wonderful crisis fund, I am donating to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee, and would urge anyone who can afford it to donate to the causes close to their heart too.”Read Branson’s blog here.Jennifer Lawrence has also made a statement about the bans on her Facebook page, saying: “My broken heart goes out to the innocent lives of Muslim refugees that are trying to escape terror and find safety for their families. I and millions of Americans understand that someone’s race or religion should never keep them in harms way. It should be every person’s duty to help and protect anyone no matter their nationality. I pray for sanity and compassion to return to the Whitehouse.”The world continues to condemn the US government’s immigration bans, and the effects they could have on world peace.
What started as a festival celebrating Chinese kung fu movies and Japanese monster spectaculars, has transformed to become an important industry event for producers of Asian genre films and other cult cinema. The schedule is always packed with surprises and the enthusiastic audiences are part of the experience.https://fantasiafestival.com/en/CINEMANIA (NOVEMBER 7-17, 2019 – MONTREAL, QUEBEC)Despite an abundance of French-language films available to watch in Montreal, few English-speaking Montrealers seek them out. Maidy Teitelbaum thought that was a shame so she created Cinemania to bring them an amazing selection of English-subtitled French movies, not just from Quebec, but from across la francophonie. As an added bonus, many of the movies are screened in Montreal’s majestic Imperial Cinema.https://www.festivalcinemania.com/enOTTAWA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL (SEPTEMBER 25-29 – OTTAWA, ONTARIO)If you think cartoons are just for kids, you haven’t been watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network or Teletoon at Night, both of which give a taste of some of the brilliant animated television shows that are aimed at grown-ups. Since 1976, OIAF has been welcoming animators from around the world and screening animated shorts and features that push the envelope of the medium.https://www.animationfestival.caHOT DOCS (APRIL 25-MAY 5, 2019 – TORONTO, ONTARIO)Toronto’s other great film festival is Hot Docs, and unlike the Hollywood fare that dominates TIFF, this festival shines a light on incredible documentaries that elicit strong emotions from audiences because they know they are watching something real. Many of the festival winners go on to be nominated for the documentary categories of the Academy Awards.http://www.hotdocs.ca/CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL (FEBRUARY 7-9, 2019 – WINNIPEG, MANITOBA)Plenty of jokes are made about winter in Winnipeg, so it’s only fitting that the city is home to a film festival every February that features nothing but comedies. The festival recently underwent a name change after a long-time sponsor dropped out, but they keep coming back, vowing to be funnier than the year before. It’s the perfect festival for people who don’t like crying during movies, unless it’s crying from laughter.https://www.cicff.ca/DREAMSPEAKERS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (APRIL 27-MAY 1, 2019 – EDMONTON, ALBERTA)Aboriginal filmmakers from Canada and around the world come to Edmonton to share their stories with Canadian audiences thanks to the efforts of the Dreamspeakers Festival Society a non-profit organization that aims to supports Aboriginal creators and educate the public about aboriginal culture, art and heritage.https://dreamspeakers.org/WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL (DECEMBER 4-8, 2019 – WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA)Billed as Canada’s coolest film festival, this five-day gathering in the beautiful mountain resort town of Whistler is an important event for Canadian movie-makers who come together each year to exhibit their latest creations and meet at the “Whistler Summit” to discuss the state of Canadian cinema. For movie fans, it’s a chance to see some fantastic Canadian movies that are crowded out of the local movie theatre by a constant stream of Hollywood blockbusters.https://whistlerfilmfestival.com/BY MARK STACHIEW ~ CALGARY HERALD Twitter Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment There’s no denying that the Toronto International Film Festival is one of the biggest and most important movie events in the world, but there are dozens of cities and towns across Canada that boast film festivals of their own. From east to west, here are some intriguing film festivals that we think are worth travelling to see:FIN ATLANTIC INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (SEPT. 12-19, 2019 – HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)You probably don’t see a lot of Canadian films in a year, but chances are you see even fewer from Atlantic Canada. Correct that with a visit to Halifax this summer to binge on an amazing collection of feature films, documentaries and shorts produced by creative and talented artists from Atlantic Canada.http://www.finfestival.ca/FANTASIA (JULY 11 – AUGUST 1, 2019 – MONTREAL, QUEBEC) Login/Register With: Advertisement Movie lovers in Canada have an abundance of choices when it comes to film festivals. Advertisement Advertisement