Two Films on Israeli Occupation in Oscar Race

February 24th, 2013 - by admin

Nicole Johnston / Al Jazeera & Nour Samaha / Al Jazeera – 2013-02-24 00:52:52

THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK (February 23, 2013) — Hollywood is getting ready to hand out the industry’s most prestigious film awards: the Oscars. Among the contenders for best documentary is a film directed by an Israeli, and another by a Palestinian. Both the Israeli The Gatekeepers and Palestinian 5 Broken Cameras tell the same story, but from two quite different perspectives.

Q&A: Dror Moreh and Emad Burnat
Al Jazeera

(February 24, 2013) — Dror Moreh is the filmmaker behind The Gatekeepers, while Emad Burnat helms the 5 Broken Cameras. Both are Oscar nominees. Al Jazeera’s Mariam Ahmadi Simpson talks to Moreh and Burnat about their experience making the films.

Filmmaker Dror Moreh
Dror Moreh achieves the remarkable feat of interviewing all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets. In The Gatekeepers, the six former heads of Israel’s domestic secret service agency Shin Bet, share their insights and reflect publicly on their actions and decisions.

Israel has been unable — or unwilling — to transform its crushing military victory in the Six Day War in 1967 into a lasting peace.

The formers heads of the Shin Bet stood at the centre of Israel’s decision-making process in all matters pertaining to security throughout that period. They worked closely with every Israeli prime minister, and their analyses and opinions have had a profound impact on Israeli policy.

In an interview, Moreh tells Al Jazeera that when he approached the former heads of Shin Bet, he told them about the importance of the message that they will carry out. “It was important for me that the message will come from them – the centre of the Israeli defence establishment,” he said.

Filmmaker Emad Burnat
Emad Burnat’s 5 Broken Cameras is the first Palestinian film to be nominated for best documentary at the Oscars. The documentary is filmed by Burnat, a Palestinian villager, who gets his first camera upon the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel.

A separation barrier is being built in his village, Bilin, and the villagers start to resist this decision. Emad films their struggle over the next five years. Two of his best friends lead the opposition movement.

In parallel, he films his son’s childhood. The struggle affects his family, who are constantly scared of arrests and night raids. The director’s camera rolls as friends, brothers and himself are either shot or arrested. Even his cameras have become targets, and an intimate part of the story of his village and his family. The Oscar-nominated director made headlines this week when US immigration officials arrested him at Los Angeles airport to question him about why he was in the US.

In a separate interview with Al Jazeera, Burnat said that he felt that there was “political pressure” because of the film he made and message it carried. “My goal is to reach the people and to bring more attention to our life under the occupation,” he said.