Tomorrow will be the first Prince William County screening of the completed film 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.
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.”
From Eric Byler email:
I am putting finishing touches on the bilingual version of 9500 Liberty. Spanish subtitles for the English parts. English subtitles for the Spanish parts. It’s like seeing the world in color for the first time!
If you ever want to fully appreciate what happened here in 2007 and 2008, if you care enough to really know, see the film with us Friday night sitting among members of the Spanish speaking community, with members of our county government, and members of our law enforcement community. I think it will be a cathartic experience to collectively process the events that unfold in the film while in a gathering that is truly representative of our community, with the language barrier cast aside, and shared comprehension for the first time since the whole thing began. No matter where you stood on the controversy when it all went down, even if you think you’re firmly entrenched on one “side” or the other, I think this experience will bring you closer to understanding where the “other side” is coming from.
Please invite the readers and contributors at AntiBVBL.net to come to our screening. Many of them are characters in the story, both on screen and off. There are many in this community who hope and expect that this event will be a step toward healing, truth, and reconciliation. With everyone’s participation, I think it will be.