“5 Broken Cameras” wins Palestine’s first Emmy

Man makes speech at podium while holding award

Palestinians want “peace and liberty,” Emad Burnat said during his acceptance speech. (International Emmy Awards photo)

Emad Burnat’s 5 Broken Cameras took the prize for best documentary at the International Emmy Awards in New York City on Monday evening.

“It’s a big honor to be the first Palestinian to win an Emmy award,” Burnat told the elite industry crowd in his acceptance speech (watch it here).

“I made this film … to share my story with you and all the world. We want what you want — peace and liberty. We want a good future for our kids so we need your support and your help. Free Palestine,” he concluded.

5 Broken Cameras is an intimate portrayal of the grassroots resistance movement in Bilin village in the occupied West Bank, featuring footage and narration by Burnat, one of the leaders of the popular protests brutally repressed by the Israeli army.

The film was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary earlier this year.

A World Not Ours awarded at DOC NYC

A World Not Ours, Mahdi Fleifel’s deeply personal film showing multiple generations of exile in Ein al-Hilwe refugee camp, has won yet another award, taking top prize at the DOC NYC festival.

The documentary was given the grand jury prize in the Viewfinders Competition, which honors films for their “distinct directorial visions.”

The jurors, who include producers for The Colbert Report and Al Jazeera TV and a marketing director of a major independent movie distributor, stated:

Director Mahdi Fleifel has drawn on his family’s home movies, archival footage, and his own extensive video diaries to invite us into a world completely unfamiliar to most viewers, and one from which most residents cannot leave. Unlike his friends and family who have spent decades living in the camp, Fleifel is free to come and go – but his portrayal of the world of the camp stayed with us long after his film ended.

A World Not Ours also picked up the Reel Talent Award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in other Palestine film news:

  • Annemarie Jacir’s feature When I Saw You, set in Jordan in the wake of the 1967 war and occupation, received both the audience award and the Prize SIGNIS Award for Best Film at the Amiens Film Festival in France earlier this month
  • Both When I Saw You and Nitin Sawhney’s uplifting documentary Flying Paper, featuring kite flyers in Gaza with big dreams, are screening at the Doha Film Institute’s new Ajyal Youth Film Festival later this week
  • The Dubai International Film Festival opens next month with Hany Abu Assad’s acclaimed new feature Omar, Palestine’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Several other Palestine films will be screened during the Dubai festival, including artist brothers Arab and Tarzan Nasser’s short Condom Lead, Rashid Masharawi’s new feature Palestine Stereo, Mais Darwazah’s My Love Awaits Me By the Sea, Rama Mari’s short Blued, and Jinan Coulter’s feature-length documentary Searching for Saris
  • Omar received Special Mention Jury Award at the 4th Malatya International Film Festival in Turkey last week
  • Usama Alshaibi’s American Arab, produced by Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, premiered at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam last week. The National reports:
The director, now 44, narrates the story of his family’s rough landing in America from Iraq. Usama’s mother is Palestinian, his father Iraqi. He and his siblings, one of whom was born in the US, grew up speaking English.

In the documentary, three girls whose family recently fled Iraq tell of being stigmatised whenever Osama bin Laden is mentioned, although they barely know who he was. A punk rocker from the band Al-Thawra, Marwan Kamel, ignores prejudice, yet his tearful Polish mother (his father is Syrian) talks of her fears when the phone rang with threats to her family. A Palestinian woman, Amal Abusumayah, recalls an angry American trying to remove her hijab at a supermarket. She took the case to court as a hate crime, and won.

  • Zochrot is holding an International Film Festival on Nakba and Return this weekend in Tel Aviv and Jaffa this weekend, which marks the 66th anniversary of the 1947 UN resolution on the partition of Palestine. According to the festival website, “The festival seeks to creatively challenge the partition concept and suggest new pathways for just and equitable life for all of this divided country’s present inhabitants and refugees.” The festival includes new short films produced especially for the event.




Beautiful! I loved this movie. I love Palestine. Free Palestine. Outlive the tyranny.


Congratulations to Brother Emad. Well done Sir. It's about time. Viva Viva Palestina! Freedom shall come... someday.

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.