Entertainment News

Producer of Oscar-nominated Syrian documentary ‘Last Men in Aleppo’ denied US visa

Mahmoud Al-Hatter, founder of The White Helmets rescue group featured in the documentary, has also been blocked from leaving Syria.

The producer of the Oscar-nominated Syrian documentary Last Men in Aleppo has been denied a visa to travel to the United States and will be unable to attend the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4, Variety reported. Kareem Abeed was reportedly found ineligible for a visa under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The refusal comes in the wake of President Trump’s travel ban on Syria, North Korea, Iran, Chad, Libya, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released a statement in support of Abeed and other members of the Last Men in Aleppo team who have been denied entry into the US.

Directed by Feras Fayyad, Last Men in Aleppo portrays volunteers of Syrian rescue team The White Helmets, which helps victims after bombings in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. The movie won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

The White Helmets co-founder Mahmoud Al-Hatter, who is featured in the movie, will also not be at the ceremony as he has been unable to apply for a Syrian passport after the Assad regime accused his team of having links to terrorist outfit Al Qaeda. The allegations remain unsubstantiated. The Syrian regime had also refused to expedite the visa process for Abeed, making it unlikely that he would be able to reach the country in time for the awards ceremony on March 4 even if his travel document was approved.

In a statement expressing solidarity with the Last Men in Aleppo team, the Academy said, “As supporters of filmmakers – and the human rights of all people – around the globe, we stand in solidarity with Fayyad as well as the film’s producer Kareem Abeed.”

Play
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

A special shade of blue inspired these musicians to create a musical piece

Thanks to an interesting neurological condition called synesthesia.

On certain forums on the Internet, heated discussions revolve around the colour of number 9 or the sound of strawberry cupcake. And most forum members mount a passionate defence of their points of view on these topics. These posts provide insight into a lesser known, but well-documented, sensory condition called synesthesia - simply described as the cross wiring of the senses.

Synesthetes can ‘see’ music, ‘taste’ paintings, ‘hear’ emotions...and experience other sensory combinations based on their type. If this seems confusing, just pay some attention to our everyday language. It’s riddled with synesthesia-like metaphors - ‘to go green with envy’, ‘to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth’, ‘loud colours’, ‘sweet smells’ and so on.

Synesthesia is a deeply individual experience for those who have it and differs from person to person. About 80 different types of synesthesia have been discovered so far. Some synesthetes even have multiple types, making their inner experience far richer than most can imagine.

Most synesthetes vehemently maintain that they don’t consider their synesthesia to be problem that needs to be fixed. Indeed, synesthesia isn’t classified as a disorder, but only a neurological condition - one that scientists say may even confer cognitive benefits, chief among them being a heightened sense of creativity.

Pop culture has celebrated synesthetic minds for centuries. Synesthetic musicians, writers, artists and even scientists have produced a body of work that still inspires. Indeed, synesthetes often gravitate towards the arts. Eduardo is a Canadian violinist who has synesthesia. He’s, in fact, so obsessed with it that he even went on to do a doctoral thesis on the subject. Eduardo has also authored a children’s book meant to encourage latent creativity, and synesthesia, in children.

Litsa, a British violinist, sees splashes of paint when she hears music. For her, the note G is green; she can’t separate the two. She considers synesthesia to be a fundamental part of her vocation. Samara echoes the sentiment. A talented cellist from London, Samara can’t quite quantify the effect of synesthesia on her music, for she has never known a life without it. Like most synesthetes, the discovery of synesthesia for Samara was really the realisation that other people didn’t experience the world the way she did.

Eduardo, Litsa and Samara got together to make music guided by their synesthesia. They were invited by Maruti NEXA to interpret their new automotive colour - NEXA Blue. The signature shade represents the brand’s spirit of innovation and draws on the legacy of blue as the colour that has inspired innovation and creativity in art, science and culture for centuries.

Each musician, like a true synesthete, came up with a different note to represent the colour. NEXA roped in Indraneel, a composer, to tie these notes together into a harmonious composition. The video below shows how Sound of NEXA Blue was conceived.

Play

You can watch Eduardo, Litsa and Samara play the entire Sound of NEXA Blue composition in the video below.

Play

To know more about NEXA Blue and how the brand constantly strives to bring something exclusive and innovative to its customers, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.