Film & Discussion: 5 Broken Cameras with Iyad Burnat
5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat's cameras, the filmmakers' collaboration follows one family's evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. "I feel like the camera protects me," he says, "but it's an illusion.
Iyad Burnat is head of the Bil'in Popular Committee and a leader in the village's non-violent popular resistance movement. Since 2005 citizens of Bil'in have held weekly demonstrations against the building of the Israeli separation wall through the community's agricultural lands, and the steady encroachment of illegal settlements. The demonstrators are joined by Israeli and international peace activists, and have maintained a commitment to non-violent methods of resistance in spite of armed, military opposition that has resulted in many injuries and some deaths.
These demonstrations are the subject of the recent award-winning documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, which was made by Iyad's brother, Emad Burnat.
Iyad was born in Bil'in in September of 1973. He is married and has four children. He became involved in popular resistance as a teenager, and was arrested by the Israeli military for the first time at age 17. He was accused of throwing stones, and imprisoned for two years. Since then he has been arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military several more times.
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