Virtually all the Academy Award nominees for documentary feature and short attend event in Beverly Hills
For fans of documentary there is no event quite like the IDA's DocuDay.
The International Documentary Association screened every one of the Oscar-nominated documentary features and shorts, interspersed with post-screening conversations with the filmmaking teams.
DocuDay also made news, offering many people in the doc community their first opportunity to welcome the Oscar-nominated Syrian producer and two cinematographers of Last Men in Aleppo, who were granted a last minute visa to come to the U.S. for the Academy Awards. They entered the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills in dramatic fashion, just as director Feras Fayyad was beginning his Q&A and were greeted with a standing ovation.
Below are photos and some quotes from DocuDay.
"Last Men in Aleppo" director Feras Fayyad (left, with mike) embraces his filmmaking team after their surprise arrival at the IDA's DocuDay on Saturday, March 3, 2018. In blue jacket is cinematographer Fadi Al Halabi; center, in white shirt, is producer Kareem Abeed; at far right is cinematographer Thaer Mohamad. Photo by Matt Carey
Up until the last minute we have no hope -- until the last day of February when we get a visa and it really surprised us.
Last Men in Aleppo producer Kareem Abeed and cinematographers Fadi al Halabi and Thaer Mohamad had been prevented from traveling to the U.S. for the Oscars under President Trump's travel ban on nationals from eight countries -- most of them majority-Muslim. But after the IDA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences protested the visa denial, the State Department relented.
These are incredibly important stories and to deny a visa to these guys because of where they come from is just unconscionable. So I think it's very meaningful that they're here.
The Oscar nomination -- this is very important because it means we can speak out to stop the war in Syria and get more people involved who believe in democracy and freedom of expression.
A crowd surrounds the filmmakers of "Last Men in Aleppo" after the surprise appearance of the producer and two cinematographers at DocuDay. They had previously been denied visa to enter the U.S., but the State Department reversed that decision on appeal. Beverly Hills, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Photo by Matt Carey
We are facing a third world war in different ways and we are looking to survive in our country. We wrote this story to tell our pain, to tell what's happened in our country and we need to use this story to support peace.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.