The filmmakers behind The White Helmets, a film about Syrian volunteer first responders in that country’s bloody civil war, said they planned on bringing two members of that group to the February 26th ceremony, but Trump’s travel ban – which impacts Syria and six other countries – will prevent that from happening.
“They’ve been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize,” White Helmets producer Johanna Natasegara said in a statement (via Variety). “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.”
Similarly, the Syrian family at the heart of Watani: My Homeland, another short documentary up for an Academy Award, are unable to attend the Oscars due to the travel ban, even though they are now German citizens.
“As Trump seeks to demonize refugees and Muslim people in general, films such as Watani: My Homeland, which tell the human story of refugees, become ever more important,” director Marcel Mettelsiefen said in a statement. “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.”
On Sunday, the Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, nominated again this year in the Best Foreign Language Film category for The Salesman, announced that, following Trump’s executive order, he won’t travel to Los Angeles for the ceremony.
“I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations,” Farhadi said.