An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat's cameras, the filmmakers' collaboration follows one family's evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. "I feel like the camera protects me," he says, "but it's an illusion."
5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a very powerful and emotional piece of filmmaking. Now, it was never your original intention to set out to make a documentary, is that correct?
EB: Actually, when I started filming my village in 2005 I was filming and documenting for many purposes. But after a few months, the idea of making a film came to me. I saw other films had been made about the subject so I decided not to do it at that time. Instead, I started to focus on my friends, my family, and my son growing up. It was like constructing the story.
GD: When Emad asked me to work with him, it was in 2009, a few months after the killing of Bassem Abu-Rahme - El Phil. The name of the project was "Elephant in Bil'in". I actually was skeptical, since the Bil'in moevement had been portrayed in the media a lot, (think of the 2006 film "Bil'in My Love"). I didn't think it would be logical to make another film on the characters of the village and the movement. Plus, I grew up with so many films that commemorate the deaths of soldiers (Israelis of course) that I didn't like the idea of making another film that commemorates death.
New York, NY - January 10, 2013 - The critically acclaimed Palestinian and Israeli co-production 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, co-directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi and distributed in the United States by Kino Lorber Inc., has been nominated by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Best Documentary category for the 85th Academy Awards®.
5 BROKEN CAMERAS has also won the top prize (Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking) at yesterday's Cinema Eye awards, presented at The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Michael Moore gracefully accepted the award for co-Directors Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.