Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat, who co-directed the Oscar-nominated film Five Broken Cameras with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, ran into some trouble at Los Angeles International Airport this morning. As he sought to enter the country in order to attend the Oscars, he was detained by immigration and questioned for a period of time. This is when Michael Moore stepped in.
According to Moore’s Twitter feed, Burnat texted Moore for assistance in entering the country and showed immigration officers his official Academy Awards invitation. Still, they were not convinced Burnat was an Oscar nominee.
Moore said he called Academy Awards officials, the officials called lawyers and the lawyers contacted immigration officials to confirm Emad’s invitation to the Oscars. Moore also tweeted that he told Burnat to “give the officers my phone # and to say my name a couple of times.”
“After 1.5 hrs, they decided to release him & his family & told him he could stay in LA for the week & go to the Oscars. Welcome to America,” Moore tweeted.
Five Broken Cameras documents the attempts by Palestinians to protest settlement construction in the West Bank. Like many of Moore’s films, Five Broken Cameras, which chronicles a very real problem, has its share of detractors who call the film’s balance into question. Burnat has released a statement recounting the incident and concluding:
Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout he [sic] 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.
Of course, it seems worth nothing that checkpoints exist both in American airports and at Israeli borders because of terrorism.
We’ll see how Burnat does on Sunday night.