Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine
CAM Issa Aslan, Connie Field, Ramzi Maqdisi, Asraf Shweiki, Tom Hurwitz
ED Gregory Scharpen
PROD CO Clarity Films
The glorious strains of gospel music wash over the West Bank in Connie Field’s (Freedom on My Mind) potent new film. As the Palestinian National Theater and an African-American choir mount a touring play about Martin Luther King Jr., an impassioned cultural exchange ensues, new friendships are forged and attitudes are altered. A rousing portrait of the changes unfolding in the Middle East, this dynamic and complex work is born of a brilliantly simple and potent idea: what would happen if African-American Christians—the same subgroup who served as exemplars of the civil rights movement—could witness firsthand the plight of Palestinians today? Field has done something truly impressive: she has folded multiple perspectives and forces together to truly moving effect.
"At a time when documentary films on Palestine and the occupation are gaining surprising new prominence (with two such films recently nominated for Academy Awards), Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine is utterly unique. It shows artists meeting across worlds; it refracts the fierce and appalling political situation through the lenses of theater; it weaves together threads of suffering and courage, political activism and artistic creation; it creates revelatory conversations between African Americans and Palestinians. [It] shows the power of art and is, in itself, a work of art."—Linda Hess, Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University