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Common Dreams

Oscar Nominated Palestinian Filmmaker Detained at Los Angeles Airport

'When you live under occupation, with no rights, this is a daily occurrence'

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

(Photo: Kino Lorber)

Oscar nominated Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat was detained at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday night with his wife and 8-year-old son, who had all arrived in Los Angeles ahead of the Academy Awards.

Despite showing immigration officers the Oscar invitation for his critically acclaimed film 5 Broken Cameras, Burnat and his family were held for 90 minutes. Officers told Burnat he did not have permission to enter the United States and threatened to send him "back to Palestine."

It wasn't until Burnat contacted his friend Michael Moore, who in turn contacted lawyers and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that Burnat and his family were allowed to enter the country.

"Apparently the Immigration & Customs officers couldn't understand how a Palestinian could be an Oscar nominee.  Emad texted me for help," Moore tweeted Wednesday.

"It's nothing I'm not already used to," Emad later told Moore. "When you live under occupation, with no rights, this is a daily occurrence."

Burnat's film is nominated for Best Documentary.

The film tells the story of the residents of a small village, Bil’in, in the West Bank, and their fight to stop to the expansion of the Israeli separation wall on their land and the continued spread of illegal Jewish settlements.


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Burnat would be the first Palestinian to win an Oscar.

Watch the trailer for 5 Broken Cameras:

Below Burnat and co-director Israeli activist Guy Davidi discuss the film with Laura Flanders:

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