February 21, 2013 03:11:41 GMT
Moore wrote on his Twitter to explain his friend's situation, 'Apparently the Immigration & Customs officers couldn't understand how a Palestinian could be an Oscar nominee.'
Emad Burnat, the director of the 2013 Academy Awards-nominated documentary "5 Broken Cameras", and family were suspended in Los Angeles airport on February 19 and denied permission to enter the U.S. The desperate Palestinian director sent an urgent message to Michael Moore to ask for help.
Burnat stated that he, his wife, and son were "held at US immigration for about an hour and questioned about the purpose of my visit to the United States." It seemed like the airport security had a hard time believing that the Palestinian olive farmer and his family were coming to attend 2013 Academy Awards.
The Palestinian director said, "Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award. They told me that if I couldn't prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day." Therefore, he sent a message to Moore.
Michael Moore, one of the Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Documentary Branch, called Academy Awards' officials for lawyers. He also explained, "I told Emad to give the officers my phone number 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."
Emad Burnat's work, "5 Broken Cameras", is the first ever Palestinian movie which receives Oscar nomination. The documentary features Palestinian people's resistance to Israel's occupation. Burnat told Huffington Post in early February, "This is a Palestinian film from the heart, from the mind and from the soul. This is a Palestinian documentary."