First Hollywood film with Palestinian-American lead comes to NY (Please help)

Israel/Palestine
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"Salt of the Sea," an excellent Palestinian film with rare Hollywood power behind it — the first ever with a Palestinian-American lead — is opening in New York this weekend.  It’s the story of a Palestinian woman from Brooklyn who travels to the Holy Land to reclaim what’s hers only to find past injustices still locked down and an occupation destroying the hopes of a new generation.  She and a Palestinian man — whose dream is to leave Palestine for good — set off on a madcap adventure to defy injustice, no matter the cost.

Nora, a filmmaker friend of mine, realized a couple of days ago that not nearly enough people knew about the film when you consider the caliber of the cast and production and the importance of the story.  She’s passionate about getting the Palestinian narrative to the American mainstream, so she’s launched a last-minute campaign to sell out the theater on opening weekend and make sure this Palestinian film, and future Palestinian films, are distributed as widely as possible.  If this film does well on its opening weekend, it means this film stays in theaters longer and future Palestinian films are thought of as box office draws rather than deficits.

Here is her appeal letter, which is being forwarded around to pro-justice groups in New York.  Feel free to forward it widely!

SALT OF THIS SEA (Milh Hadha al-Bahr), OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, IN NEW YORK CITY!

Exclusive Engagement at the Quad Cinema (34 West 13th St., near Union Square)

** SUHEIR HAMMAD IN PERSON FRIDAY AT 7:30! **

DAILY SHOWTIMES: 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:50
TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yMAWXLaEyA
QUAD CINEMA WEBSITE: http://www.quadcinema.com/now-playing
TICKET PURCHASE: http://www.movietickets.com/house_detail.asp?house_id=216&rdate=8%2F13%2F2010
PRESS RELEASE: Follows below

Dear Friends of Palestine:

Have you been waiting for a Hollywood-style film to reach out to the American voting public and tell a real story from Palestine — to describe from a personal point of view the history of dispossession, bring it into the present with searing images of the current reality of occupation, and set it in an engaging adventure?

This film has has arrived! Even if you can’t attend, PURCHASE A TICKET NOW TO SUPPORT “SALT OF THIS SEA!”

Opening in New York Friday, August 13, Salt of This Sea (Milh Hadha al-Bahr), is a wrenching, beautifully shot film from Palestine, produced by Hollywood strongman Danny Glover, directed by Tony-Award winning Palestinian-American filmmaker Anna Marie Jacir, and starring Brooklyn’s own Suheir Hammad. Now is the moment to support mainstreaming cinematic images of Palestine in America.

Why is this appeal reaching you less than 24 hours before the film’s opening? Salt of This Sea’s distributor apparently began asking organizations to partner with them for group sales just two days before opening night — far too late for effective outreach for most films — and Quad Cinema revealed that NOT ONE GROUP BLOCK OR ADVANCE TICKET HAS BEEN SOLD! Given the caliber of this film, we don’t know why this oversight occurred. But we must act now to remedy this missed marketing opportunity.

WHY IT’S CRITICAL TO SUPPORT THIS FILM AT THE BOX OFFICE OPENING WEEKEND

Monday morning after reviewing weekend box office sales, cinemas decide which films to keep in the theatre, and which to drop from the marquee. If Salt of This Sea does not sell more tickets that the other films at the Quad this weekend, it will be gone from the theatre in less than a week.

WHY DOES IT MATTER WHETHER A FILM FROM PALESTINE STAYS IN CINEMAS ANOTHER WEEK?

– It’s the difference between distributors viewing films from Palestine as "box office deficits" and "passing" on these films in the future vs. distributors viewing films from Palestine as commercially viable for American audiences, and seeking them out

– It’s the difference between dissemination of more negative stereotypes and false narratives vs. dissemination of realistic stories from Palestine, by Palestinian directors, portraying fully-realized characters

Why do American perceptions of Palestine matter? Because images form concepts, concepts influence voting habits, and voting habits influence American foreign policy, in support of Palestine – or not. I think we all know how the record stands now. Let’s take steps to change that!

HOW YOU CAN HELP KEEP SALT OF THIS SEA IN THE CINEMA

1. Even if you can’t attend the screening, PURCHASE A TICKET for this film at MovieTickets.com. Consider it a $12 donation to promote media from Palestine, about Palestine, and for Palestine.

2. If you can attend a screening this weekend, we have a deal with the Quad Cinema for "Mainstreaming Palestine" with which you can receive $8 tickets once we sell the first block of 10. Contact Nora at [email protected] if you’d like to be included in the first block of 10 to get this ball rolling.

3. Forward this to every individual and organization you know who is concerned about American media images of Palestine. (Press release follows below.)

4. Write Kino-Lorber Films and thank them for distributing Salt of This Sea. Ask them to bring more films from, about, and for Palestine, and remind them you’re voting for the media you want with your film ticket purchase.

5. Write or call the Quad Cinema, and thank them for booking Salt of This Sea at their cinema. The managing director is Eva Rode. Email: [email protected] Phone: (212) 225 2243.

TICKET PURCHASING STRATEGY

THE GOAL: SELL OUT FIVE SHOWS DAILY ON OPENING WEEKEND. The Quad Cinema hosts five screenings per day. Each screening holds 139 seats. To sell out every show this weekend we need to purchase 2085 tickets in total.

We can! If the USA to Gaza Flotilla fundraiser could sell out, if hundreds of people can sail on boats to Gaza with the goal of ending the blockade, if activists worldwide stand up to IDF bullets in the West Bank to defy land grabs and occupation, certainly we can click "Purchase ticket" from the comfort of our home to sell out Salt of This Sea opening weekend – and participate in the media battle for American public opinion.

Or, think of it this way: If Friends of the IDF can raise $120 million at a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City in March 2010 – we MUST.

Salt of This Sea is a rare theatrical release with great potential to educate the American public about the real story in Palestine. The battle for Palestine begins with the media. Let’s start now!

_________________________________________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE:

SALT OF THIS SEA (Milh Hadha al-Bahr), DISTRIBUTED BY KINO-LORBER FILMS, USA

OPENS FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, IN NEW YORK CITY!
Exclusive Engagement at the Quad Cinema (34 West 13th St, near Union Square)

SUHEIR HAMMAD IN PERSON FRIDAY AT 7:30!

DAILY SHOWTIMES: 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:50
TRAILER
PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS

SALT OF THIS SEA

Annemarie Jacir’s politically charged feature debut is the story of Soraya (Tony Award winner Suheir Hammad), a Brooklyn-born woman who travels to Palestine to retrieve her grandfather’s savings, frozen in a Jaffa bank account after his 1948 exile. Struggling to feel at home in the land of her ancestors — and rebuffed by the country’s financial institutions — she meets Emad, a young Palestinian whose ambition, contrary to hers, is to leave forever. Tired of the constraints that dictate their lives, they devise a plan to reclaim what is theirs — whatever the consequences may be.

“Brilliant, emotional, intense and fresh… the kind of powerful film that stays with you long after you leave the theater. It profoundly moved me.” — Michael Moore

“Realized with verve, sincerity, and an unusual blend of documentary texture and theatrical energy.” — Richard Brody, The New Yorker

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