A Syrian cinematographer who worked on the Academy Award-nominated documentary The White Helmets has been barred by immigration authorities from entering the U.S.
According to the Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has blocked Khaled Khateeb from entering the country, citing “derogatory information” about the filmmaker.
Having previously been granted a visa to attend Sunday’s ceremony, where his film is nominated for Best Documentary Short, Khateeb was detained by Turkish authorities and told he needed a waiver from the U.S. to make it into the country, something he didn’t receive, according to the AP.
Earlier this month after President Trump’s executive order on immigration, which restricted travel into the U.S. by refugees from around the world as well as citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Syria, there were questions about whether representatives of the film about volunteer Syrian rescue workers could make it to the ceremony. At the time, Khateeb issued a statement pledging his intentions to attend.
“I plan to travel to L.A. for the Oscars, where the film is nominated for an award,” he said. “If we win this award, it will show people across Syria that people around the world support them. It will give courage to every volunteer who wakes up every morning to run towards bombs.”
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He continued: “If I cannot enter the U.S., I will not give up: We know that we have many friends in the U.S., that there are people that share our humanitarian values. I look forward to meeting them all one day.”
While Khateeb remained steadfast in his hopes to be at the Oscars, Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian filmmaker and nominee for The Salesman, last month announced his decision to not attend, whether he would be allowed in the country or not, to protest America’s anti-immigration policies.
On Friday, Farhadi and his fellow Best Foreign Language Film directors released a joint statement against the “climate of fanaticism and nationalism.”
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“The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly ‘foreign’ and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better,” the statement reads in part. “These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.”
Netflix, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and White Helmets‘ production company Grain Media have not immediately replied to EW’s requests for comment.