FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pr. William Immigration Film a Step Toward Reconciliation
400-seat church to host premiere of 9500 Liberty
Woodbridge, VA (October 6, 2009) — Residents of Prince William County are hopeful that a film screening will restart dialogue about an immigration culture war that divided the county in 2007 and 2008. Friday's 8 PM showing of 9500 Liberty, hosted by St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Woodbridge, will be the first ever presentation of the film with Spanish subtitles. An interpreter will facilitate discussion between residents and county officials following the award-winning documentary.
"Two years later, there remain a lot of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and mistrust on all sides of this issue," said Carlos Castro, founder of the Ayuda Business Coalition. "The language barrier is part of that, so hopefully having the immigrant community talk about this film together with police officials and members of the Board of Supervisors will be a significant step toward reconciliation."
Friday, October 9, 2009 at 8:00 PM
St. Paul's Methodist Church
1400 G. Street
Woodbridge, VA 22191
9500 Liberty tracks the fate of the most controversial aspect of Prince William County's Immigration Resolution, a mandate that required police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they had "probable cause" to suspect was an undocumented immigrant. As racial and political turmoil rose to a fever pitch, the Board of County Supervisors granted emergency funding for the "probable cause" mandate on October 16, 2007, only to repeal it two months into its implementation.
County Supervisor Marty Nohe of the Coles District said 9500 Liberty "sheds new light" on the evolution of Immigration Resolution, which remains opaque for the majority of county residents. "The county engaged in a complicated process to ultimately arrive at a very reasonable and just policy. It is unfortunate, however, that it took so many iterations and so many highly charged emotions in order to come to that reasonable policy."
Directed by Annabel Park and Eric Byler, 9500 Liberty won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Charlotte Film Festival on September 24, then sold out its Washington DC premiere on October 1 turning dozens away. "Over the years, American documentaries have become, increasingly, the better films that I see," remarked film critic Desson Thomson who hosted the DC event. "Tonight is no exception. And I think what's most powerful about this film is the people who evolve — who go from a vote that was made under duress and fear, to a vote of principle and courage."
Co-director Park said, “We hope our film will provide some clarity for county residents, and serve as an example for people in other jurisdictions who may not be aware of the social and economic consequences of an 'enforcement only' immigration policy.”
Media RSVP and other inquiries
Chris Rigopulos, Producer