"They are not yet on U.S. soil, and we await their arrival with a tense anticipation," said the filmmakers of Raed Saleh and Khaled Khatib. "In these uncertain times, their story is one of the most moving of our generation. We stand ready to welcome them.”
Following the halt of President Donald Trump's immigration and travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries, including an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., the subjects of the Syria-set Oscar-nominated doc short — Netflix's White Helmets — will now attend the upcoming awards show.
Raed Saleh, the leader of the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Syrian rescue group the White Helmets, and Khaled Khatib, an active White Helmet and Syrian national who is the cinematographer of the doc, both intend to travel to the U.S. for the ceremony. They previously announced that they would not be attending as a result of Trump's order.
“We are eagerly looking forward to coming to the Oscars," said Saleh in a statement. "It will give us an important platform for the voices of Syrian children and women trapped under the rubble as a result of the airstrikes and artillery shelling, and for the voices of thousands of displaced Syrians who have been forced from their homes.”
“It is so important that people see the film. 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," added Khatib. "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."
Director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara, said in a joint statement, “The White Helmets are among the most inspiring humanitarians we have ever known and it is the greatest honor to share a global platform where their incredible work can be recognized. They are not yet on U.S. soil, and we await their arrival with a tense anticipation. In these uncertain times, their story is one of the most moving of our generation. We stand ready to welcome them.”