Oscar-Nominated Syrian Cinematographer Khaled Khateeb Barred From Entering U.S., Will Be Unable to Attend Ceremony

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Photo: Netlix/IMDB

Despite the subject of the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary The White Helmets willingly choosing to attend this year’s ceremony in light of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, other members of the doc’s team are unfortunately unable to do the same. Khaled Khateeb, the 21-year-old cinematographer who put his life in jeopardy to film the documentary about the Nobel Peace Prize–nominated Syrian rescue group, was barred by U.S. immigration authorities at “the last minute” after “derogatory information” was found regarding Khateeb before he departed on his flight from Istanbul to Los Angeles. According to The Guardian, Khateeb had been issued an appropriate visa to attend Sunday’s ceremony, but Turkish authorities detained him earlier this week, prompting his travel circumstances to change — he now needs a passport waiver from the U.S. to enter the country. Per an internal Trump administration correspondence seen by the Associated Press, Khateeb won’t receive one. “A valid travel document is required for travel to the United States,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said in a statement.

Khateeb has yet to speak out about this experience, but earlier this month, he enthusiastically discussed his plans to attend the ceremony and the importance of The White Helmets. “It is so important that people see the film,” he said. “It is important that people understand that Syria has people who want the same things they want: Peace, jobs, family, and to live without the fear of bombs. This is what I hope the film does.”

Oscar-Nominated Syrian Cinematographer Barred From U.S.