Emad Burnat, the Academy Awards nominee for 5 Broken Cameras, was detained for a brief period at the Los Angeles International Airport while en route to the upcoming Academy Awards show. Officials from U.S. Immigration briefly detained the Oscar-nominated Palestinian director after he arrived at the airport.
Burnat said when he arrived from Turkey accompanied by his wife and their eight-year-old son on Tuesday, immigration officials told him he did not have proper papers proving he was an Oscar-nominee.
In a prepared statement following the incident, Burnat said he was stopped in Los Angeles after arriving from Turkey and he and his family were held by immigration officials for over an hour. He said officials questioned him about his purpose for visiting the U.S.
Although it was not a pleasant experience, the director said, it is something Palestinians go through daily, every day across the West Bank. Burnat had to spend close to six hours at a checkpoint in Israel attempting to drive Turkey to catch his flight.
Michael Moore, the filmmaker from the U.S. first reported Burnat’s detention by U.S. immigration officials. Moore is Burnat’s friend and said Burnat sent him a text from the airport saying he and his family were being held in a holding pen.
According to a blog post by Moore, he told Burnat to give his name to Homeland Security and his cell number so he could explain why the Palestinian director had come to the U.S.
Burnat was in the U.S. only two weeks prior, doing a number of interviews with Guy Davidi, an Israeli activist and Burnat’s co-director.