Syrian cinematographer blocked from entering US for Oscars 2017

Security officials reportedly found 'derogatory information' against him

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 25 February 2017 10:16 GMT

A Syrian cinematographer won't be able to attend this Sunday's Oscars ceremony having been denied entry to the US by the Department of Homeland Security.

21-year-old Khaled Khateeb, who worked on the Oscar-nominated documentary short The White Helmets, is reported to have been kept from entering the country after officials found “derogatory information” against him.

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 US court.

40-minute long documentary The White Helmets is about The Syrian Civil Defense which has saved over 60,000 people from bombed buildings in war-torn Syria; it's being turned into a feature-length film by George Clooney who this week spoke out against Trump.

The Associated Press reports that Khateeb had planned on attending the ceremony with the Netflix-produced short's director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara.

He said in an earlier statement: “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.”

Oscars 2017: Our film team discuss who will win and who should

Trump's Muslim ban would have kept Asghar Farhadi - Oscar-winning director of nominated Foreign Language film The Salesman - from attending the ceremony, however, the filmmaker is now not attending on his own accord. In a protest against Trump's actions, the film will receive its UK premiere this Sunday - ahead of the Academy Awards - outside the US embassy.

The Oscars will take place this Sunday 26 February hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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