Detained Palestinian Filmmaker: LAX Treated Me Like the Israeli Army (Video)

Emad Burnat Current TV - H 2013
Current TV

Two days after being detained by security at Los Angeles International Airport, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Emad Burnat spoke of his experience as being similar to what he faced at home in Palestine.

"What's happened to me in the Los Angeles airport reminds me of where I live and where I come from, because I get this treatment in my country [from] the Israeli army,” he said Thursday during an appearance on Current TV’s The Young Turks.

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His Oscar-nominated documentary, 5 Broken Cameras, was shot on small digital cameras and tells the story of people in his small village facing encroachment from Israeli settlements. It was co-directed by Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi and won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at Sundance in 2012.

Immigration officials stopped Burnat, the first Palestinian to receive an Oscar nomination, when he and his family arrived at LAX from Turkey. Officials told him if he could not prove he was in the country to attend the Academy Awards, he and his family would be sent back. He was eventually released after Michael Moore, who has championed 5 Broken Cameras, intervened.

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Moore tweeted about his role in getting Burnat released, writing: "Although he produced the Oscar invite nominees receive, that wasn't good enough & he was threatened with being sent back to Palestine ... Apparently the Immigration & Customs officers couldn't understand how a Palestinian could be an Oscar nominee. Emad texted me for help ... I called Academy officials who called lawyers. I told Emad to give the officers my phone # and to say my name a couple of times."

Burnat recently told THR of his current success: "To live in a small town, small village, and just to be traveling around the world to many countries and many festivals and to get many awards, it’s very exciting."

The Young Turks airs 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Current TV.

Watch the clip below.