LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Preparations for the red carpet are underway at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland, as the 85th Academy Awards® ceremony is about to begin this Sunday. And joining in the festivities this year will be two child actors from Somalia who are the leads in the Oscar® nominated film – ASAD – a film by Bryan Buckley and produced by Mino Jarjoura. Brothers Harun (14) and Ali Mohamed (12) are on a plane right now from Cape Town (where they now live) to Tinseltown to join their filmmakers Buckley and Jarjoura on the red carpet and the ceremony.
ASAD is nominated for an Oscar® in the Short Live Action category and has been winning awards and capturing audiences along the film festival route since last April when it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the award for Best Short Film. The film, written and directed by Buckley (who is mostly known for his commercial work) centers on a war torn fishing village in Somalia and follows a 12 year-old boy who must decide between falling into the pirate life or rising above it to become an honest fisherman. It has won over 14 awards from around the world and has been endorsed by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
In a recent letter to the filmmakers from Archbishop Tutu, he writes:
"South Africa is a relatively young democracy only recently emerged from the shackles of tyranny and prejudice. We have much to learn and we also have much to teach. ASAD is at once a painful reminder of the xenophobia that shamefully still exists in South Africa and a heart-warming tribute to our special ability as members of the human family to heal ourselves."
ASAD was inspired by a United Nations short documentary, "No Autographs" which brought Buckley Jarjoura to refugee camps in Kenya and Sudan in the summer of 2010.
"The young Somali actors Harun and Ali Mohamed are the stars of a compelling show," writes Tutu. "They are also real life stars in an inspirational South African story about hope and reconciliation. So are the filmmakers – South African Rafiq Samsodien and the US partners Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura. Before ASAD, the children had never attended school; now, thanks to the director, they have received catch-up private tuition and enrolled in a home school system. They are being equipped to contribute to our shared South African future. Their film has been nominated to receive an Oscar. They deserve two Oscars: one for the creative endeavor and the other for contributing to our collective understanding of our dependence on one another," adds Tutu.
"This has been an amazing feat in getting our two amazing actors over for the Oscars," exclaims director Buckley. "We were on a time crunch from the time the nominations were announced and right up to the last minute on Thursday when their visas and passports were granted by the government of South Africa to allow Harun and Ali to be here. We are very excited to bring them as our guests."
Carter Pilcher, CEO of Shorts International based in Santa Monica and London called on his team of US government officials together including US Senator Chuck Grassley and his Chief of Staff, David Young along with Ed Pagano in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs and Adam Carter in the State Department to play instrumental roles in getting the actors here. Hungry Man Productions called on the expertise of Hilary Armstrong, Nick Warshaw and David Cirilli of Rally.org, as well. And the media joined the effort with articles and interviews in The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, the Los Angeles Times, TheWrap.com, Huffington Post Live with Jacob Soboroff and the television show Last Call With Carson Daily adding to the effort.
In South Africa, producer Samsodien worked with Melanie Mahona at the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, Nils Flaatten at Wesgro, The City of Cape Town, Myatt International, Woolworths, Dr Anwar Nagiah, Marcel Golding, Munier Parker and Oryx Media, and The National Film and Video Foundation who are sponsoring the flights and accommodation, among other costs.
"Together with all of these entities and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, we are able to bring Harun and Ali to join us on Sunday at the Oscars®," states producer Jarjoura. "The media, the film industry, AMPAS®, the governments of South Africa and the United States, elected officials, concerned individuals and the United Nations have all worked quickly and collectively to make this journey for these actors. We are thankful for everyone's participation."
David Magdael 213 624 7827
SOURCE Hungry Man Productions