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Meet the Sundance-Supported Oscar Nominees: 5 Broken Cameras

Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator

In 2005, Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat purchased a video camera to capture the birth of his youngest son, Gibreel. That camera, along with four others that would see destruction, created the foundation for a coursing documentary that bravely chronicles the denizens of Bi’lin—a small Palestinian farming town—as they form a peaceful resistance against the Israeli army’s attempt to encroach upon their land.

Progressing over five years, 5 Broken Cameras invokes the personal evolution of Burnat’s family in its sobering depiction of the persistent upheaval in Bi’lin, with Gibreel’s tainted youth set as the film’s emotional backdrop. Burnat adds another layer of provocation to the storyline with his decision to nab Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi as co-director.

  • 5 Broken Cameras is the first-ever Palestinian film to be nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards
  • Burnat and Davidi won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
  • 5 Broken Cameras is Burnat’s debut feature documentary and Davidi’s second feature (Interrupted Streams)

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A man in a beige shirt and with medium-length dark hair kneels in the dirt and looks over his right shoulder at the camera

Who Was… Mark Silverman?

Mark Silverman allied himself with the Coen brothers early in his and their careers. Here, he works as co-producer on the set of “Raising Arizona.”

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