Season Spotlight: “5 Broken Cameras”

Posted by Anna Husted on 12.11.2012


Directors Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat. Photo: Godlis

As awards season kicks into high gear, The Season begins daily spotlights on the films that are receiving (or, in our opinion, should be receiving) end-of-year buzz. These posts are aimed at highlighting some of the best cinema of the year and making the case for why they deserve your eyeballs, whether it's for the first, second, or fifth time.

For our second Season Spotlight we turn to a documentary by two unlikely filmmaking partners: Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, and Guy Davidi, an Israeli. Theatrically released in June, 5 Broken Cameras chronicles Burnat’s experience in his now Israeli-occupied town of Bil’in. The first of the title's five cameras was originally purchased to record the birth of his son Gibreel. Each camera, damaged by rocks, bullets and dust, reveals something about a Palestinian-Israeli community torn apart by political tension and expropriation of land.

Kino Lorber purchased 5 Broken Cameras in February after it won the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. In March, the film had its New York premiere at New Directors/New Films 2012. Earlier this month, it became one of 15 films on the shortlist for the Best Documentary Feature award at the 85th Academy Awards.

Check out our ND/NF Discovery interview with co-director Guy Davidi where he tells the story of his first experience with violence, his first documentary Interrupted Streams (also shot in the Palestinian town of Bil’in), and stories of near-violent situations during filmling and the expectation of being defined by one’s nationality. “I distinctly remember having tears in my eyes as I came to an important understanding that I should shoot truthful and sincere films and not shoot people,” said Davidi. “With this, I felt strangely at home in this violated cinema hall.”

For a more in-depth discussion of the film, next head to our extended interviews with Davidi and Burnat and watch the New Directors/New Films Q&A with both filmmakers below.

Awards (So Far): 
Won, Sundance 2012: World Cinema Directing Award
Nominated, Sundance 2012: Grand Jury Prize
Won, Jerusalem Film Festival 2012: Best Israeli Documentary
Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards

Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat discuss 5 Broken Cameras after its screening at New Directors/New Films:

See what else Davidi and Burnat had to say in a Meet the Directors panel at ND/NF::

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