Oscar-nominated Palestinian director Emad Burnat was terrified he would be deported from America after he was held by immigration officers at Los Angeles International Airport (Lax) on Tuesday night (19Feb13).
Burnat, who is nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category for 5 Broken Cameras, was stopped by authorities after flying into the airport with his wife and son, and subsequently taken to an isolated room for questioning about his Academy Awards invitation.
The moviemaker offered to show the authorities the official invite, but alleges he was brushed off and left fearing he would be thrown out of the country.
He tells Tmz.com, "I was stopped there by the immigration (officers). They were asking me questions and (asked me) to give them proof (of) why I came here. I told them I'm Oscar-nominated. You can see in my iPhone the emails, the (Oscars) invitation in my iPhone, I have the hotel reservation and the flight.
"The lady there, she didn't pay attention to this. They (took my fingerprints) twice, she told me, 'I don't have time for you. We'll take you to another place.' They took us to another room. They hold us for more than 40 minutes. I was trying to send emails or send texts. I send (sic) texts to (filmmaker) Michael Moore and other friends and told them, 'They are holding us here in the room and they will send us back.'
"It was not easy to (make a) call from the immigration. They asked me to shut up the iPhone and not to use it, but I succeeded to make a call to Michael Moore."
The Bowling For Columbine director took action and notified Academy bosses of the situation, and also took to his Twitter.com page to tell followers about the incident.
Burnat, who will learn whether he has won the Oscar at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night (24Feb13), claims he did not receive an apology from Lax officials.