White Helmets documentary crew heads to Oscars for ‘Last Men in Aleppo’

Syrians walk along a damaged street in Aleppo's Tareeq Al-Bab neighborhood on January 18, 2017, a month after government forces retook the northern Syrian city from rebel fighters. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2018
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White Helmets documentary crew heads to Oscars for ‘Last Men in Aleppo’

CAIRO: Members of the the White Helmets are heading to the Oscars to be held on Sunday, where Syrian film ‘Last Men in Aleppo’ has been nominated in the Best Feature Documentary category.
The film documents the efforts of the Syrian White Helmets volunteer civil defense group that operates in rebel-held parts of Syria.
Described by its director Firas Fayyad as “a big shout out to justice” that lays bare the horrors of the war in his native country.
The movie describes the daily war atrocities through the eyes of volunteer rescue workers.
“We were very happy to be nominated,” Khaled Khatib, a member of the volunteer emergency response group and one of the film’s producers, told CBC News in a Skype call from Istanbul earlier this week.
A British documentary called ‘White Helmets’ aired on Netflix and scooped an Oscar last year in the Best Short Documentary category. It earned the online streaming service its first Academy Award.
Due to complications with their travel visas amid the Donald Trump travel ban, Khatib and others on the crew were barred form entering the US, and therefore would not have been able to attend.
However last-minute visas have been approved and they will attend the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.


Abu Dhabi Festival reveals exciting 2019 lineup

Updated 10 December 2018
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Abu Dhabi Festival reveals exciting 2019 lineup

  •  Dubbed ADF19, the festival will feature more than 100 events across 25 venues in Abu Dhabi, including 18 productions, two co-productions and two commissioned artworks
  • The festival will also shed light on artists with disabilities, with the central theme announced as “Culture of Determination”

The month-long Abu Dhabi Festival, set to be held in March 2019, announced its art-and-culture filled lineup in a press conference at the Emirates Palace hotel on Monday, with the packed itinerary set to entertain culture vultures in the capital in what will be the festival’s 16th edition.

Dubbed ADF19, the festival will feature more than 100 events across 25 venues in Abu Dhabi, including 18 productions, two co-productions and two commissioned artworks. If that isn’t enough, the festival will also feature more than 500 artists from 17 different countries.

The festival’s headline program includes performances by the Korean National Ballet — set to perform “Giselle,” a romantic ballet about a peasant girl with a passion for dance — and the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Korea has been singled out as ASF19’s “Country of Honor” and organizers are focusing on sharing its classical talent with audiences in the Middle East.

“Abu Dhabi Festival… has been contributing enormously to the region’s intercultural competence, so I’m very happy that Korea could be a part of the wonderful celebration,” the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to the UAE Kang-ho Park told the press via video link on Monday.  

The festival will also shed light on artists with disabilities, with the central theme announced as “Culture of Determination.”

Festival founder Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo took to the stage alongside Peter Wheeler, CEO of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi, to sign a cooperation agreement at Monday’s press conference and a March 16 concert titled “Stand Up For Inclusion” was announced as one of the main events during next year’s festival.

The festival will also host an exhibition called “Distant Prospects,” presenting the history of European landscape painting through renowned pieces by key figures in the Late Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Other highlights include a performance by award-winning US jazz pianist Justin Kauflin on March 11, a dance show by the Sara Baras Flamenco Ballet Company on March 21 and a full-length, three-act plotless performance by the Paris Opera Ballet, backed by the Pasdeloup Orchestra — the oldest symphony orchestra in France — on March 29 and 30.