Asghar Farhadi isn’t the only one who can’t attend the Academy Awards due to the Muslim ban. Two people involved with “The White Helmets,” which is nominated for Best Documentary Short, won’t be at the ceremony either: Raed Saleh, who heads the Syrian volunteer organization, and cinematographer Khaled Khateeb. The film’s producer has released a statement expressing her thoughts on this “abhorrent” development.
“We have always said that if we were to be nominated, we would bring Raed Saleh, the head of the White Helmets, who has spoken many times in D.C., and Khaled Khateeb, the young cinematographer who risked his life over and over again, as our guests,” says Joanna Natasegara. “They’ve been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — these people are the bravest humanitarians on the planet, and the idea that they could not be able to come with us and enjoy that success is just abhorrent.”
“Watani: My Homeland” is also nominated for Best Documentary Short, and the film’s director has released a statement of his own. “This travel ban from President Trump is another devastating blow to refugees who have already suffered so much,” he says.
“As Trump seeks to demonise refugees and Muslim people in general, films such as ‘Watani: My Homeland,’ which tell the human story of refugees become ever more important. We must reconnect with the common humanity of the refugee experience and we must all remember that the founding story of America is dependent upon people who have fled war, hunger and poverty in search of a better life.”