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Politics on Film Announces 2011 Festival Line-Up

WASHINGTON – Politics on Film today announced the 2011 festival line-up, including two world premieres of documentaries focused onpolitics and policy.

Joining the previously announced opening and closing films are documentaries examining two lingering aspects of September 11 a decade later. “Fordson”follows the football season of student athletes at Fordson High School in Dearborn, MI, a town with the highest concentration of Arabs in any city outside of the Middle East. Director / Executive Producer Rashid Ghazi, who has developed more than 100 live high school sporting events for ESPN, successfully blends sports with drama in this revealing portrait of American families still struggling for acceptance in a post-9/11 world.

“Out of the Ashes” chronicles the establishment and implementation of the 9/11 victims compensation fund, following multiple families of victims as they cope with their loss while navigating a government-established system to help them move forward.“Out of the Ashes” is a detailed accounting of policy intersecting with humanity, and asks questions about the fund’s effectiveness, its administration and the precedent it set.

 Two U.S. premieres of Dutch feature films round out this year’s event, “Majesty” and the drama “First Mission”. “Majesty” looks at the role of royalty through the eyes of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Set in and around 2002 the film captures a queen mourning the loss of her husband and struggling with the role of the monarchy in modern day Dutch society.

Like the festival’s opening and closing night films, “First Mission” circles around the impact of civil war and the difference one woman can make, following a young woman recovering from personal tragedy while serving as a doctor in a war-torn South American jungle.

Two films centered on the impact of the arts will open and close the 2011 festival. Melissa Fitzgerald, the West Wing actress, will premiere “Staging Hope” to open the festival. And inaugural PoliFest winner Pamela Yates (“The Reckoning”) returns with another powerful story, straight from the Sundance Film Festival, “Granito”, to close the third annual event.

The festival runs May 4-8, 2011. Films will be screened at the West End Cinema and the Navy Memorial Auditorium.  A complete screening schedule and program details follow. More information at

2011 Official Selections & Schedule:
Staging Hope, World Premiere -
Wednesday, May 4
Navy Memorial Auditorium, 6:30 p.m.
Followed by panel discussion
“Staging Hope” follows a group of American actors to the refugee camps of war-torn Northern Uganda as they work together with 14 Ugandan teenagers on a theater program. “Staging Hope” documents the program while revealing the war’s impact, the realities of life in the camps, and the extraordinary sense of hope, reconciliation and determination of the children of Northern Uganda. “Staging Hope” is written and edited by Paul Freedman, Peabody Award winning and Emmy Award nominated filmmaker, and is produced by Fitzgerald and Katy S. Fox, with appearances by Dule’ Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney and Martin Sheen.

Majesty, U.S. Premiere -
Thursday, May 5
West End Cinema, 7 p.m.

At the intersection of the monarchy and the Dutch government, a battle rages for control. “Majesty” is a poignant film about Queen Beatrix’s role as a loving wife, mother, and head of the government and as monarch.

Fordson, Washington, D.C. Premiere -
Friday, May 6
West End Cinema, 7 p.m.
Followed by panel discussion
“Fordson” follows an Arab-American high school football team during Ramadan and unearths a community desperately holding on its Islamic faith while struggling to gain acceptance in a post 9-11 America.

Out of the Ashes, World Premiere -
Saturday, May 7
West End Cinema, 2 p.m.
Followed by panel discussion
“Out of the Ashes” tells the heart-wrenching and inspiring stories of seven 9/11 families.  The film tells how the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created and implemented, portraying both its strengths and its weaknesses with exclusive interviews with the Special Master of the Fund, Kenneth Feinberg, with the lawyers who helped families navigate the system, and with the 9/11 families.

First Mission, U.S. Premiere -
Saturday, May 7
West End Cinema, 4:30 p.m.
“First Mission” tells the story of a young Dutch doctor who travels to Latin America to join a humanitarian mission operating in the no man's land between armed revolutionaries and government forces.  Idealism and pragmatism abound in this compelling film about how difficult it can be for one person to change the world, or even one life.

Granito, Washington, D.C. Premiere -
Saturday, May 7
West End Cinema, 7 p.m.
Followed by panel discussion
“Granito” is the return of Sundance favorite and Politics on Film alum Pamela Yates, chronicling her own extraordinary journey as both a documentarian and a humanitarian. Join her as she sifts for clues buried in archives of mind and place spanning three decades to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Each of the five main characters whose destinies collide in“Granito” are connected by 1982 Guatemala, engulfed in a war where a scorched earth campaign by the military exterminated nearly 200,000 Mayan people. “Granito” is a film by Pamela Yates (Director), Peter Kinoy (Editor) and Paco de Onis (Producer) of Skylight Pictures.

Politics on Film is the nation’s first juried film festival with a mission to highlight political film broadly, providing a platform for filmmakers who focus on government, the electoral process, or pressing public policy issues, and establishing an entertaining and educational opportunity for the community. The festival will award prizes in three categories: Audience Favorite, Founders Award and Jury Grand Prize.   

Politics on Film is a project of the Washington Political Film Foundation and is made possible by an alliance with theBipartisan Policy Center (BPC), an organization that promotes political discourse and seeks to unite the constructive center in the pursuit of viable policy goals.

More information is available at

Politics on Film: Gayle Osterberg or Amanda Reynolds, 202-548-0133

About Politics on Film
Politics on Film is a project of the Washington Political Film Foundation. It is an annual, bipartisan film festival based in Washington DC dedicated to providing a platform for films that tell stories of America’s politics and policies. The festival celebrates the power of film to educate and motivate, as well as entertain. The Festival also celebrates the historic and ongoing legacy of films about American government and democracy, as well as related stories and themes from an international perspective.