‘Last Men’ director reflects on Oscar nomination

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The maker of the “Last Men in Aleppo” has made Oscars history for his war-torn country, Syria.

The 90-minute documentary is the first Syrian film to be nominated for an Academy Award. Director Firas Fayyad calls the nomination “a big shout out to justice” because it documents what he called the war crimes of the Syrian government.

The Netflix production 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 the Syrian government for survivors. The rescuers themselves often come under attack as they carry out their rescue missions.

Making it to the United States is an added struggle for Fayyad, who left the war-torn country in 2012 and lives in Denmark. With his Syrian passport, he has been interrogated for hours before being permitted in the US. His producer and assistant director, also Syrians, will have to “work hard” to make it to Los Angeles for the Oscars on March 4.

Syria is one of the country’s that face a travel ban.