The very first film director from Palestine to receive an Oscar nomination, Emad Burnat, almost did not get to attend the ceremony after nearly being deported by US immigration officials. The 5 Broken Cameras director arrived at Los Angeles International Airport with his wife and children on 19th February, only to find himself being held for questioning for several hours and almost ending up getting deported. It was only the intervention of past Oscar winner and fellow documentary maker Michael Moore that secured the director’s release.
Later on Twitter, Moore claimed that Burnat was detained due to the fact that the immigration officials found it impossible to believe that someone from Palestine could have been nominated for an Academy Award and alleged that the official invitation presented to them by the film director must have been a fake. It was only after Moore called in officials from the Academy, who sent in their own lawyers, that Burnat was eventually released.
Burnat’s movie was made in partnership with the Israeli film maker Guy David and details the peaceful resistance that Burnat’s village and the people within have been staging against the Israeli government’s planned fence, which would confiscate a full 50% of their farming land. The title of the film reflects the fact that five cameras were broken during filming, one by a bullet.
“Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank,” Burnat says.