Academy Awards nominated director barred from attending ceremony

Netflix's The White Helmets, a film about the Syrian rescue group of the same name, won best documentary short at Sunday's Oscars ceremony over fellow nominees Extremis, 4.1 Miles, Joe's Violin, and Watani: My Homeland.

But Mr Khateeb's hopes were shattered after U.S. officials refused to grant him a passport waiver at the last minute, saying they had found "derogatory information" about the young cinematographer, according to the Guardian.

Khaled Khateeb, 21, had initially been issued a visa to attend the Oscars, according to the Associated Press, citing an internal government memo.

A video uploaded to the internet by the civil defence group known as the White Helmets, purports to show rescue personnel pulling victims, including a child, bleeding and covered in dust from under rubble. He was scheduled to arrive Saturday, but his plans have changed after US officials reportedly found "derogatory information" regarding Khateeb.

Last month, it was revealed that Academy Award-nominated director Asghar Farhadi would probably not be able to attend this year's ceremony due to President Donald Trump's travel ban.

"Dividing the world into "us" and "our enemies" categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war", said the statement read in Farhadi's name.

"He couldn't come in the end because the violence in Syria has escalated", he said. Khateeb had obtained a visa to enter the United States, but had been detained earlier this week in Turkey for unknown reasons.

Since the White Helmets group was created in 2013, it has hired more than 3,000 volunteers and claims to have saved more than 78,000 lives. "We are so grateful that this film has highlighted our work to the world".

Following the announcement of the results, the White Helmets, who were also nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, released a statement.

"We are honoured that The White Helmets film has received an Oscar".

Orlando von Einsiedel's The White Helmets was named Best Documentary Short Subject at the 89 Academy Awards, held in Los Angeles on Sunday (February 26).

Natasegara said she is particularly proud of the film because, "it shows that Syrians have pride and dignity and respect for their own people", she said before adding, "it's completely counter for numerous narratives we see about Muslim males specifically and about Syrians in general".

  • Carolyn Briggs