Oscars: White Helmets Head Urges End to Syrian War in Statement Read by Doc Short Winners
"I invite anyone here who hears me to work to stop the bloodshed in Syria and around the world."
The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, took home the award for best documentary short at the 89th annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
The short centers on the "White Helmets," a group who, in war-torn Syria, comb through the rubble after bombings to rescue survivors. They have saved more than 82,000 lives since 2013.
Raed Al Saleh, the head of the White Helmets, could not attend but sent a statement read by von Einsiedel: "We are so grateful that this film has highlighted our work to the world. Our organization is guided by a verse in the Koran: 'To save one life is to save all of humanity.' We have saved more than 82,000 civilian lives. I invite anyone here who hears me to work to stop the bloodshed in Syria and around the world."
Von Einsiedel then added: "It's easy to forget this war has been going on six years. If everyone could stand up and show we care, that this war should end as quickly as possible."
Khaled Khateeb, the Syrian national who risked his life to work as a cameraman on Netflix's The White Helmets, was denied last-minute into the country due to the ban.
Saleh had been given a via but was unable to attend the Oscars because of the high intensity of air strikes in Syria.
The documentary short beat out Extremis, directed by Dan Krauss, 4.1 Miles, directed by Daphne Matziaraki, Joe’s Violin, directed by Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen, and Watani: My Homeland, directed by Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis.
Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 89th annual Academy Awards on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.