The film ’Last Men in Aleppo’, which depicts the work of rescue workers in the war-torn Syrian city, has been nominated for an Oscar for the Best Documentary Feature category.
Firas Fayyad, the Syrian director and writer of the film who is also from Aleppo, called the nomination "a big shout out to justice" because it documents what he called the "war crimes" of the Assad regime.
The 90-minute documentary follows a group of first responders in the White Helmets who remain in the opposition-held part of Aleppo city and dig through the rubble and follow bombings from Assad regime for survivors. They also pull out the victims from under the devastation in some heart-wrenching scenes when seconds can make a difference between life and death. The rescuers themselves often come under attack as they carry out their rescue missions.
The documentary also tells the story of Syria as it is being ripped apart by seven years of war.
"They say those who have the power always write history. We who don’t have power are now writing history, one that can’t be (erased)," Fayyad said in a phone interview while attending the global summit in Davos, Switzerland.
The White Helmets operate in rebel-held areas, where government services are almost none existent and aerial bombings are recurrent. The documentary portrays the lives of the men who volunteered for the task as their country has plunged into war.
At last year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film was chosen from a field of 12 for the award in the documentary category.