Award-winner billed as “the film S.B. 1070 proponents don’t want you to see.”
(June 21, 2010) Houston, TX — After a sold-out premiere and a six-week run in Phoenix, AZ, the award-winning documentary 9500 LIBERTY opens Friday, June 25 in Houston, El Paso, Minneapolis and Seattle with more than 20 cities on scheduled for later this summer. The film’s co-director Annabel Park grew up in Houston after being born in Seoul, Korea. She returns this week to appear at Friday night’s Opening Night Event at the Angelika Film Centre & Cafe, 500 Texas Street in Houston.
Arizona’s infamous S.B. 1070 has been tried once before. In Prince William County, VA, a law requiring police to check the immigration status of those they had “probable cause” to suspect are undocumented immigrants went into effect in March 2008 after a 10-month culture war that included a bitterly contentious election. Despite a climate of fear and racial tension, ordinary citizens banded together to ask lawmakers to repeal of the controversial “probable cause” mandate. They succeeded with an inventive combination of Internet and grassroots advocacy, pointing to the law’s unexpectedly negative economic impact, and the costly law suits that would have been a heavy burden for taxpayers. Both Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and the Virginia county’s short-lived “probable cause” mandate were originally drafted by the same anti-immigration lobbying firm in Washington DC.
Business leaders and law enforcement leaders in Arizona, Texas, California, and around the country have championed 9500 LIBERTY for its fact-based, even-handed account of the economic and public safety impacts of laws like S.B. 1070. Harkins Theatres, which is based in Phoenix, rushed 9500 LIBERTY into an “emergency theatrical release” when S.B. 1070 was signed in April. The film opened a week after the bill was signed, and earned more than $30,000 in box office. The success in Phoenix led to theatrical engagements around the country.
Texas Senator Kirk Watson recently screened 9500 LIBERTY at a special event in Austin with dozens of Texas officials on hand, including for members of the State Legislature and Police Chief Art Acevedo. “It’s a great movie, and it’s worth your time,” Sen. Watson said. “Not to mention the hours of overheated rhetoric you’ll be able to see through as you learn more about this issue.” On Thursday, the film will be shown at the Major County Sheriffs’ Association Convention in Anaheim, CA.
Co-director Annabel Park immigrated to Houston from South Korea as a girl, and is best known as the founder of Coffee Party USA. Co-director Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes, Americanese) is a Spirit Award nominee and a 3-time award winner at South by Southwest Film Festival. The film will be presented with Spanish subtitles in all theatrical venues going forward (CLICK HERE for a clip with Spanish subtitles, CLICK HERE for the trailer).
What they’re saying about 9500 Liberty
A film by Annabel Park & Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes)
“This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have ‘probable cause’ to suspect of being an illegal alien.”
Dennis Harvey, Variety
“There are certain films in certain times that make it exceedingly difficult to shut out the world around you. 9500 Liberty is one of them.”
Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic
“With an uplifting turn of events and some extraordinary acts of conscience, 9500 Liberty is
as dramatically charged as any fiction movie. And ultimately, it’s as powerful a booster of the democratic process as anything Frank Capra ever imprinted into our collective memory.”
Desson Thomson, The Wrap
“9500 Liberty is a well-made, engaging example of the documentary form, a film in which compelling storytelling transcends politics.”