Michel Hazanavicius Among Filmmakers Presenting Pro-Asylum Petition to EU Politicians

Michel Hazanavicius
Joe Pugliese

Says Hazanavicius: "I steal things. I really do. It's not that kind of 'influence.' I steal. Concretely.'

Daniel Craig, Juliette Binoche, Mike Leigh and Isabelle Huppert are among the more than 5,000 signatories to the petition, which calls for action in Europe's refugee crisis.

Some of Europe's most acclaimed filmmakers and talents, including Oscar-winning The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, German actress Hanna Schygulla, Hungary's Bela Tarr and Italian actress/director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi were in Brussels Tuesday to meet with European politicians to discuss the ongoing refugee crisis.

The group, which also includes French director Laurent Canet and Polish actor Andrzej Chyra, came to Brussels to present the European Parliament with a pro-asylum petition signed by some 5,500 Euro film professionals, including actors Daniel Craig, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert and Isabella Rossellini and such directors as Alfonso Cuaron, Michael Haneke, Agnieszka Holland, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh

The petition calls on the European Union to take action to allow refugees “fleeing war and terror” legal ways to enter Europe and seek protection within the borders of the European Union. The film delegation was set meet with members of the European Parliament on Tuesday, including parliamentary president Martin Schulz and Claude Moraes, the chair of the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs. Later, they were set to meet with the EU's executive body, the European Commission, and Commission First President Frans Timmermans.

The delegation said it would call on Europe's politicians to take joint action to ensure refugees can legally and safely enter Europe and for the burden of the refugee crisis to be more equitably shared across the continent. Currently, the countries on Europe's borders, including the southern nations of Italy and Greece and eastern nations such as Hungary, have seen the bulk of refugee and asylum seekers, while a handful of Northern European countries – mainly Germany and Sweden – have taken on the largest share of refugee applications. 

The petition, first unveiled at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September, also calls for European countries to create living conditions for refugees “that embrace personal freedom, physical safety without restriction, and offer access to work and education.”

Hundreds of thousands of refugees – mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea – have arrived on Europe's shores this year, sparking a continent-wide crisis. The refugee situation has become a political hot topic with both pro-and anti-asylum groups gaining strength and influence.