‘Last Men In Aleppo’ Producer Gets Visa To Attend Academy Awards Despite Travel Ban On Syria

Syrian Civil Defense White HelmetsAP Images

From Aleppo to the Academy Awards, filmmaker Kareem Abeed has had a tumultuous journey the past several months. Now his hard work will finally be recognized when he’s allowed to attend the Oscars in Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday night.

The Academy Award-nominated producer, whose film Last Men in Aleppo was nominated for Best Documentary, was originally unable to attend the Academy Awards in person due to a travel ban placed on his country Syria and eight other countries by the Trump administration.

But thanks to the support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the International Documentary Association, director Feras Fayyad confirmed on Twitter that Abeed managed to receive a temporary Visa on Wednesday.

“Good news: My producer Kareem Abeed get his visa finally, finger cross that he [manages] to get into U.S. now,” Fayyad tweeted. “Thanks for everyone involved to helping this process and thanks for all the solidarity and the effort from the American friends for facing Trump ban to help us to be with our film.”

This isn’t the first time the Academy Awards clashed with President Donald Trump’s travel ban. During last year’s ceremony, Salesman director Asghar Farhadi was barred from attending the ceremony due to Trump’s initial ban imposed on Iran in January. After a judge placed a restraining order on the ban in February, Farhadi boycotted the ceremony to stand in solidarity with his country. The Salesman ended up winning Best Foreign Language Film regardless, making Farhadi one of the few filmmakers to win twice in the category. Farhadi won his first Oscar in 2012 for A Separation.

Signed by Donald Trump last year during the start of his presidency, Executive Order 13780, or otherwise called “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” bans travel to and from six Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, Yemen, and Libya besides Syria and Iran. After facing a series of revisions and legal battles throughout the year, the ban was approved to go into full effect by the Supreme Court in December, pending legal challenges.

Covering the struggles and casualties surrounding the Syrian Civil War, Last Men in Aleppo follows the search-and-rescue efforts of the White Helmets, a citizen coalition who are the first responders to armed conflicts in the Syrian area. Abeed will be representing the film alongside its assistant director and cinematographers, who have also been granted travel visas, according to the Wrap.

Last Men in Aleppo is the first Syrian-produced film to be nominated for an Academy Award.