Alex Ritman | February 21, 2013
Given the rather glamorous nature of the Academy Awards, you’d be forgiven for thinking nominees would be given a somewhat cheerful welcome on arrival in Los Angeles. While this may be so for the Clooneys and Pitts of this world, it wasn’t exactly the experience enjoyed by Emad Burnat, the co-director of 5 Broken Cameras, which is nominated in the documentary category.
The Palestinian director, the first to receive an Oscar nod for a documentary, was detained by immigration officials at LAX for 90 minutes when he arrived with his family on Tuesday.
“They started asking me questions and taking pictures. They were asking me for documents and invitations,” he told the Huffington Post. “I told them I had the hotel reservation, I am the Oscar nominee and I came here for this purpose. I had the invitation in my iPhone and I had all documents on my iPhone. They told me, ‘We don’t care, we need more documents, we need papers, and if you don’t give us documents we will send you back home.’”
The news was first broken by Michael Moore, who Burnat texted from the airport and who relayed the story via Twitter to over 1.4 million followers. According to Moore, the officials eventually told him he could stay in LA for a week and attend the Oscars.
As for Burnat, being detained is hardly something unknown to him.
“All the Palestinians get the same treatment in our country, in our home and in different countries,” he said.