Orlando von Einsiedel’s The White Helmets was named Best Documentary Short Subject at the 89th Academy Awards, held in Los Angeles on Sunday (February 26).
The Netflix doc spotlights the life-saving efforts of a volunteer rescue force working in war-torn Aleppo and Turkey.
Raed Saleh, head of the White Helmets, was planning on attending the ceremony, but according to a statement, intense air strikes across the country led him to instead focus on his work in Syria.
Khaled Khatib, a White Helmets volunteer and cameraman on the film, was also due to attend. After weeks of uncertainty following Donald Trump’s travel ban, Khatib and Saleh were both able to obtain visas to travel to the U.S. for the awards show. Khatib was reportedly denied entry after his passport was rejected.
Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara accepted the award.
4.1 Miles, Watani, The White Helmets and documentary feature Fire At Sea share similar themes, delving into the plight of refugees and their efforts to find better lives for their families.