89th Oscars Backstage Interview Transcript: Documentary (Short Subject)

CATEGORY: Documentary (Short Subject)
SPEECH BY: Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara



Q. Congratulations.  So your beautiful thing is on TV and theaters and that's why you won an Oscar.  How is this great experience impacting on your life and also on the life [inaudible] that you're depicting in the film?
A. (Orlando von Einsiedel)  Well, this is clearly an incredible honor, but right from the start this was always about shining a very bright light on the heroes in the heart of our film, the White Helmets, Syrian rescue workers.  And just to be nominated was incredible, but now that we've won this, we're really hoping that that will continue to magnify their voices.

Q. Just wanted to get some reaction from you both with regard to the cinematographer who got locked out from coming here. 
A. (Joanna Natasegara)  Yeah.  It's a really bittersweet evening.  It's obviously made ameliorated by the fact that we've won, but we literally just spoke to him out in the corridor.  He's thrilled because he, like us, just wants the world to know about the White Helmets.

Q. How do you feel about the ban, since you've been in touch with such beautiful people like the White Helmets and been barred for this beautiful land that is our country?  How do you feel? 
A. (Joanna Natasegara)  I mean, we as filmmakers, we travel across the world, we traveled to over a hundred countries between us.  And we don't believe in anything but building borders between people and building compassion.  That's what our films do, that's what we speak to.  So of course we would never support something like that ban.  And the White Helmets show that even a person with no agency can dig with their hands to save one life, and that means everything to them.  We support those kind of values. 

Q. I'm wondering, I thought the White Helmets were going to be here or the leader and the cinematographer who shot a lot of this film.  What happened? 
A. Well, Raed Saleh, he's the leader of the White Helmets.  He couldn't come in the end because the last couple of days in Syria, the violence has really escalated, and he does lifesaving work, and he decided in the end his time was better placed to do that.  And Khaled Khateeb, our cinematographer, I mean, we're confused about this too.  The last two weeks have been very difficult.  He had a U.S. visa, he tried to board a plane and he wasn't able to come.  So we're very sad about that.



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