5 Broken Cameras: Interview with Palestinian Emad

In 2005 when the demonstrations against the wall started, Emad got his first camera and started to film the happenings in the village. He also filmed his personal life and family not thinking that this would be part of any future film.

For the next years Emad’s purpose wasn’t to make a film. He filmed for many other reasons. First, it was a way to participate in the demonstrations. It also protected people in court when his footage was used as evidence. And it was a way to distribute information to news agencies and to the Internet.

Other filmmakers made films around the resistance in Bil’in and many of them utilized Emad’s footage, as he was the only cameraman of the village. He had access that others didn’t have. He was the one who could film the soldiers and the raids at night when the other cameramen left. These events were sometimes violent, and many times, he was in danger for filming.

In 2006, he was arrested and accused for throwing rocks and spent weeks in jail and under house arrest– after which, his cameras were broken. It was the peace activists and donors that helped to get Emad new cameras, so that he could continue to film and document what was happening. Right from the start, Israeli and international peace activists helped and participated in the movement against the separation wall. Filmmaker Guy Davidi came to Bil’in in 2005 as a sympathizer and a media activist in the Indymedia group. He knew Emad as most people did, as Emad became an important figure of Bil’in’s movement.

After making some short films in the village, Guy started making his first feature documentary on the politics of water. This film “Interrupted Streams” was shot in Bil’in from 2005-2008. It was finished in 2010 and premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival that year.

During his work on this film, Guy stayed for several months in Bil’in. It was during this time that allowed him to develop his perspective and feel the meaning of life for the villagers under occupation. At night, soldiers invaded the village and he was the only Israeli around. So, the villagers called Guy to bring his cameras and film what was about to happen and to use the cameras to protect them from the violence. During these nights both Emad and Guy found
themselves filming side by side. Throughout this time Emad had the will to make his own film on the Bil’in’s resistance. Often, he thought of making a personal film, but the events happening in the village always drew him to documenting what was going on with his people.

Directed by: Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
Camera: Emad Burnat
Editing: Véronique Lagoarde-Ségot, Guy Davidi
Produced by: Christine Camdessus, Serge Gordey, Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Music: Le Trio Joubran (Composers: Samir Joubran, Wissam Joubran, Adnan Joubran)

Additional Photography: Yisrael Puterman
Guy Davidi, Jonathan Massey, Alexandre Goetschmann,Shay Carmeli Pollak
Sound Editing and Mixing: Amelie Canini

Production Companies: Guy DVD Films
Alegria Productions, Burnat Films Palestine