“The Last Men in Aleppo” producer Kareem Abeed will not attend this year’s Oscars because his visa has been officially rejected by the U.S. government.
“This is to inform you that you have been found ineligible for a visa under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” reads the letter from the consulate. “A denial under Section 212(f) means that you do not meet the requirements for entry into the United States.”
Last week, TheWrap reported that Abeed and White Helmets co-founder Mahmoud Al-Hattar will not be present on Oscar Sunday after the Syrian government refused to expedite the visa process to allow them to travel to Hollywood.
Interest in the Syrian crisis and The White Helmets, in particular, has increased in the documentary community, as a Netflix doc largely filmed by the White Helmets won last year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Short. But “Last Men In Aleppo” is noteworthy for being the first film directed and produced by Syrians to earn an Oscar nod.
But documentaries like “Last Men In Aleppo” have come under attack by supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and Russia, as they have accused The White Helmets of being a front for Al-Qaeda. Because of this, al-Hattar is unable to apply for a Syrian passport, and Abeed’s interview for a visa had been previously scheduled for March 2, two days before the Oscars.
The visa was rejected as part of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13780, which stops new visa applications from citizens of Syria.
“Last Men in Aleppo” is nominated alongside “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, “Faces Places,” “Icarus,” and “Strong Island” in the Best Documentary Feature category.