Last Men in Aleppo producer gets last-minute visa to attend Oscars
Days before the Oscars, Last Men in Aleppo producer Kareem Abeed has been granted a travel visa and will be able to attend the ceremony after all.
Last Men in Aleppo, which tells the story of the Syrian search-and-rescue organization the White Helmets, is nominated for best documentary feature, making it the first Syrian-produced and –directed film in Oscar history to earn a nomination. Abeed holds a Syrian passport, and the U.S. government previously rejected his application for a visa to attend the awards ceremony due to President Trump’s travel ban. However, his appeal to the U.S. State Department was successful, and EW has confirmed he now plans to attend Sunday’s event.
The documentary’s director, Feras Fayyad, shared the news on Twitter, writing, “Thanks for everyone involved to helping this process and thanks for all the solidarity and the effort from the American friends for facing Trump ban to help us to be with our film.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences previously released a statement showing support for Abeed and vowing to “stand in solidarity” after his initial visa application was denied. The film’s subject — White Helmets founder Mahmoud Al-Hattar — will not attend the ceremony, as the Syrian government refused to issue him a passport.
Last year, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose film The Salesman won for best foreign language film, did not attend the Oscars in protest of Trump’s travel ban.
Last Men in Aleppo is competing in the documentary feature category, along with Icarus, Strong Island, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, and Faces Places. The 90th Academy Awards will air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.