African-American gospel choir and Palestinian actors journey across the Holy Land amid a rising tide of non-violent struggle for change
NON-VIOLENCE IN A CHANGING PALESTINIAN LANDSCAPE
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In March of 2011 I went to Palestine with Clay Carson, who runs the Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute, to film his play about King performed by the Palestinian National Theater and an African-American gospel choir. It was presented to audiences all over the West Bank and it was an incredible journey! This is a great story that can reach new audiences who would not necessarily come see a film about Palestine, incorporating the inherent drama of the theatre and propelled by the foot-stomping rhythms of gospel music. It was an intense cultural exchange between two peoples encompassing the joy of new friendships, creative collaborations and eye opening experiences. No one who participated remained unchanged.
We traveled through the Holy Land that the Christian choir were so passionately excited to see, as they were introduced to the other side of the land where Jesus once walked: a man whose front yard has been bisected by the Security Wall and whose children have to play in the dust of its continued construction; the ease with which they as foreigners were able to pass through checkpoints while their Palestinian counterparts took hours to navigate the same distance; a home which had no water because a settlement had taken over their well, where Palestinian women teach them songs in Arabic and join them in singing American gospel songs. And yet, amidst the hardships of occupied life, the choir is greeted with food, humor, and generosity, a mixture that brought some of them to tears.
Firas Frah played Malcolm X in the play. September Penn from the choir.
We also captured the growing non-violent movement of young people in Palestine, who are much like their peers in Egypt and Tunisia -- bright, well-educated, social media savvy and deeply committed. They are on the move, changing hearts and minds.
March, Hamsa (center) and his friends were on a hunger strike camped out in a
tent in the central square of Ramallah.
Our film can be an effective way to bring a fresh approach to opening minds to the realities of Palestinian life under occupation and introducing people to the young Palestinians who are changing the landscape non-violently.
We feel this film needs to get done now. We need to go back to Palestine for one short final shoot and then edit the film. Your help can make this happen. We will then be able to complete the project sooner, getting the film out to the public as quick as we can.
Changes are sweeping across the Middle East! Can this be a time when a peaceful resolution can come to one of the most emotionally charged regions of the world? Can a story such as ours, told from a completely different perspective than has been told before, open hearts and minds? We think it can. So please join us.
FROM THE FILM
Fadi Quran and playwright Clay Carson.
Fadi Quran: I first came across Martin Luther King when I was in high school. We had a professor who was volunteering here to teach us English and he gave us a text to a Martin Luther King speech. And I was like ‘wow is he speaking to people in the U.S. or is he speaking to us?’
September Penn: When I would see pictures of Palestinians on television in the States there would be this look in their eye and I said, “Oh they’re just angry people". And then I get here, and the first person that I met I saw that look in her eye. But I came to discover that that look was not anger. That look was this deep, deep sorrow. A deep-seated sorrow that couldn’t be washed away.
Ramzi Maqdisi, who plays Martin Luther King Jr., and Aleta Hayes in Hebron.
Aleta Hayes: I was very hurt about that family in Hebron. Just to see the army there, and the settlers with M-16's, like they could've shot me. Or you. Or anybody right there. And how brave the family was to be there. I'm still worried about them, because it seems like, won't they be punished, that they bring these people to show that their water tank has been shot full of holes?
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?
MAKE A DONATION AND GET A REWARD
We set a goal and a deadline. You choose an amount you'd like to donate, and the gift you want to receive. After our funding goal is reached we will send out rewards. Those rewards that require the completion of the film will be sent out after it is finished.
IF OUR GOAL IS NOT MET BY THE DEADLINE THEN WE DON'T GET ANYTHING
If we fall short of our goal by any amount then we won't get any of the money. Even if it's only by $5. That's why your help spreading the word about the film and Kickstarter campaign is so important.
IF WE MEET OR SURPASS OUR GOAL BEFORE THE DEADLINE THEN WE GET TO KEEP THE WHOLE AMOUNT
All the donations will go to our production company Clarity Films, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to help towards finishing the film. Many folks raise much more than their goal, so the more you help us do that the sooner the film will be finished!
*****TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS******
A portion of every donation over $100 is tax deductible. You will receive a letter confirming your donation as well as the amount that you can deduct (the donation amount minus the $25 film value of the reward).
I AM INTERESTED IN YOUR PROJECT, CAN I HELP?
YES! You can help by getting the word out and encouraging others to donate. Tell your friends and family about the film. Link to our Kickstarter campaign on your Facebook profile or Twitter feed. Embed our video or widget on your web page or blog. It's a word of mouth campaign and its success relies on people being aware of the Kickstarter campaign. The more you can help us find new folks the closer we are to making our campaign a success.
Yes! You can still contribute by sending checks to:
Clarity Educational Productions, 2600 Tenth Street, Suite 412, Berkeley CA 94710
And we will continue to honor backer rewards, so please indicate your interest in claiming a reward.
pledged of $30,000 goal
seconds to go
Jul 13, 2011 - Aug 27, 2011 (45 days)
Pledge $1 or more
Join the team and be our outreach partner. Please tell your friends and family about our project. Spread the word about the film in your community.
Pledge $10 or more
You will receive our everlasting gratitude plus your name (and/or link) on our website’s backer page and post-Kickstarter email updates of the film's progress. Please tell 10 friends about our project!
Pledge $25 or more
ALL ABOVE PLUS a digital download of the completed film.
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a digital download (MP3) of the avant-garde music CD “Far Voyage From A Placid Island” by editor Gregory Scharpen’s “Thomas Carnacki" project.
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a "special thanks” credit on the finished film and a signed DVD of the film.
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a PDF copy of Dr. Carson’s original play script (a Kickstarter exclusive).
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a PDF copy of Kamel El Basha’s augmented script with photos from the performance (a Kickstarter exclusive).
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a digital download (MP3) of all the gospel music in the play (a Kickstarter exclusive).
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a signed DVD of my previous film “Salud.”
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a signed DVD of my previous film, the feminist classic “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter.”
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ALL ABOVE PLUS a signed DVD of my previous film, the Academy Award nominated “Freedom On My Mind.”
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ALL ABOVE PLUS the film credit "This film was made possible by the generous support of (your name)" and a signed 7 DVD set of my film series the award winning “Have You Heard From Johannesburg.”
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ALL ABOVE PLUS VIP tickets to the premiere of the film and opening night party (travel and accommodations not included).
Pledge $10,000 or more
ALL ABOVE PLUS a subtitled in English collectors signed edition DVD of the final performance of the play in Ramallah (a Kickstarter exclusive), plus be our dinner guest at the premiere of the film.