A Syrian cinematographer who worked on an Oscar-nominated documentary "The White Helmets" has been barred from entering the United States to attend Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.
Khaled Khatib, a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who put his life in jeopardy, earned his first major credit on the Netflix documentary short. "The White Helmets" cinematographer was banned at the last minute from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars.
Khateeb was scheduled to arrive on Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans have been upended after U.S. officials reported finding “derogatory information” regarding Khateeb.
Khateeb had been issued a visa to attend the ceremony with Hollywood’s biggest stars. But Turkish authorities detained him this week, according to the internal U.S. government correspondence, and he suddenly needed a passport waiver from the United States to enter the country.
I get US visa but I haven't traveled to U.S At all and I won't travel to OSCAR due to intensity of work, our priority is helping our people.— Khaled Khatib (@995Khaled) February 25, 2017
After 3days at airport, not allowed to travel to #oscars2017 - had US visa - but passport not accepted. Sad, but important work to do here.— Khaled Khatib (@995Khaled) February 25, 2017
The news comes a month after Donald Trump's travel ban — which prevented nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Syria, from entering the country — was blocked by a U.S. court.
Netflix’s 40-minute documentary about the White Helmets, or the Syrian Civil Defense, is nominated for Best Short film this year. The group is credited with saving over 60,000 civilians from destroyed buildings and received a Nobel Peace Prize nomination last year for their selfless services. It is also being turned into a feature-length film by George Clooney who, this week, spoke out against Trump.
"The White Helmets" director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara will represent the film at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony.