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A Syrian 'White Helmets' cinematographer was denied entry to the US for Oscars show

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A Syrian cinematographer who worked on an Oscar nominated film won't be allowed to attend Sunday's award show, the Associated Press reports.

US immigration authorities barred 21-year-old Khaled Khateeb from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars. Khateeb worked on a heart-rending film about his nation's civil war called, "The White Helmets."

The film is nominated for Documentary (Short Subject) for the 89th Academy Awards.

Authorities found derogatory information

Khateeb was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul, the Associated Press reports. His plans were cut short after U.S. officials reported finding "derogatory information" regarding Khateeb who was last detained in Turkey.


Derogatory information can include anything from terror connections to passport irregularities. It is unclear why he was detained in Turkey.

More on the film

"The White Helmets," a 40-minute Netflix documentary, focuses on the 3,300 volunteer search and rescue workers from local communities who risk their lives to save Syrians affected by civil war. Many of the group's members have been killed by Syrian President Bashar Assad's air forces. The group also was nominated for last year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Khateeb is one of three people credited for cinematography; Franklin Dow is the film's director of photography.

Here is a sample of the work these volunteers are doing every day.

What happens now

If the film wins the Oscar, the award would go to director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara. 

Khateeb had been issued a visa to attend the ceremony, but Turkish authorities detained him this week, according to the internal U.S. government official, and he suddenly needed a passport waiver from the United States to enter the country. The official indicated he would not receive a waiver. 

White Helmets | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

WATCH | The trailer for "The White Helmets" streaming on Netflix now.

 --The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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