Emad Burnat, Palestinian director of a documentary film ‘Five Broken Cameras’ along with his wife Soraya and their 8-year-old son Gibreel were detained for two hour at the LAX airport on arrival from Turkey on February 20. Burnat is in Los Angeles for Sunday’s Academy Awards, where the film he made with Israeli director Guy Davidi is nominated for Best Documentary. This was Burnat’s sixth visit to United States.
“Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank. There are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to movement across our land, and not a single one of us has been spared the experience that my family and I experienced yesterday. Ours was a very minor example of what my people face every day,” Burnat told reporters after he was released from detention after film-maker and author Michael Moore intervened. Read Emad Burnat’s experience in his own words, here. Michael Moore’s narrative of the incident can be read here.
The ‘Five Broken Cameras’ is the first-ever Palestinian film to be nominated for an Oscar. It’s based on Burnat’s personal experience of living under Jewish racist occupation. Through Burnat’s camera lense a viewer learns the daily life of more than 500,000 native Muslims and Christians living as untouchables in the West Bank.
“How often you go into a theatre to watch a movie – and then emerge two hours later with your life and view of world forever changed? That’s happened when I saw this movie. This film is not only one of the best documentaries of the year, it’s one of the best movies of the year – one of the most astonishing and amazing thing I have seen in the cinema in a long time,” said Moore.
The film records Jewish soldiers’ brutality against non-violent Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank, road check points, separate broken single-lane roads for Palestinian and modern two-three-lane roads for Jews. Burnat lives in the town of Bil’in in the West Bank. In Bil’in, over 60% of Arab land has been confiscated by the Zionist regime to build illegal Jewish settlements.
The ‘Five Broken Cameras’ won the World Cinema Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. The film also received the Special Broadcaster IDFA Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in 2011.