August 28, 2010
TO ALL COLLEAGUES IN SUPPORT OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL:
A new and dangerous movie about Mumia puts us now at another very urgent juncture in the struggle to keep Mumia alive and to win a new and fair trial for him. As this letter explains, we believe we can place Mumia’s case before the public in a fresh and effective way, with an alternative cinematic production. But we need your help.
As we write, Mumia Abu-Jamal and his attorneys are using their last legal resorts to save him from the fate that he now faces: life in solitary confinement or even execution. His execution, recall, had been overturned in 2001 (without his ever leaving death row), but now it is on the table once again. Mumia’s case has always been highly politicized, but today as his legal battle comes to its final stage, the court of public opinion matters more than ever. Those intent on ending Mumia’s life, like the highly organized and vocal Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, understand this, and have intensified their activity. Those of us who want to save Mumia’s life need to intensify ours as well.
In September, the dangerous new film, which parrots the prosecution and police claim–that Abu-Jamal shot and killed Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in a cold-blooded act of premeditated murder–will premiere in Philadelphia, before it tours nationally. Directed by filmmaker Tigre Hill and provocatively titled The Barrel of a Gun, the film is a slick work of propaganda posing as documentary, thin on facts and thick with emotional manipulation. Luckily a fine documentary film, Mumia 101, which could challenge Hill’s film with information, historical insights, and new and potentially exculpatory evidence, is almost completed. We have seen the rough cut and it’s clear that director Kouross Esmaeli (Big Noise Films) and producer Johanna Fernandez (Baruch College/History and Educators for Mumia) have made every effort to giveboth sides time to talk and let facts not emotionalism point to the police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct that led to Mumia’s 1982 conviction.
Mumia 101 must be completed by September when The Barrel of a Gun premieres. In order for that to happen, the filmmakers (who have undertaken the work as a labor of love) will have to hire a film editor full-time for two months of final editing. We have written them a check, and I am writing to ask you to write one too, for whatever you can manage. They need $100,000 to finish the film. Whatever amount you can give – small or large – will be so greatly appreciated, and contribute to an important effort on Mumia’s behalf.
We cannot stress enough how fresh and effective we believe this new documentary for Mumia to be. It stakes out the moral high ground of public advocacy in a way that the slick and shrill new anti-Mumia flick does not do. Mumia 101 allows police and prosecutors to voice their convictions. But at the same time, the documentary is clear in exposing the forces that demonize him and seek his murder. The film gives historical context to the efforts of officials’ vendetta against Mumia, their silencing of witnesses, and hiding of evidence. The public and critics will not be able easily to dismiss this film as just another pro-Mumia movie; and it will stand alongside the Tigre Hill’s propaganda piece as a clear and engaging alternative for political action and advocacy on Mumia’s behalf.
The filmmakers are preparing an interactive website to complement the documentary, to review the known facts of the case and serve as its major information clearinghouse. They are available to answer any questions you may have at: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. And here are links to articles that review some of the basics of the case along with the new evidence. http://www.emajonline.com/index.php?action=0&extra=&cat_id=21 .
Please make out your checks for your tax-deductible contribution to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation, and write “Mumia 101/EMAJ” in the memo line.
Please Mail Checks to:
COMMITTEE TO SAVE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
P.O. Box 2012
New York, NY 10159
Thanks so much, in advance, for your help.
The Coordinators of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal:
Tameka L. Cage
Mark Lewis Taylor