Oscar-nominated Palestinian director Emad Burnat was allegedly stopped by officials at Los Angeles International Airport (Lax) on Tuesday night (19Feb13) and grilled over his Academy Award invite, according to his friend Michael Moore.
The Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker has spoken out about the alleged incident, claiming his friend was held at Lax with his family for an hour and a half while immigration officers questioned him about whether he was really in town for the Oscars.
Burnat, whose film 5 Broken Cameras is nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category, was eventually released, but Moore is furious about the drama.
In a series of posts on Twitter.com, Moore writes, "Emad Burnat, Palestinian director of Oscar nominated 5 Broken Cameras, was held tonight by immigration at Lax as he landed to attend Oscars... Emad, his wife & 8-yr (sic) old son were placed in a holding area and told they didn't have the proper invitation on them to attend the Oscars... 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 (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."
The Oscars will be handed out at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night (24Feb13).