The Washington Film Institute is a new organization which was established to inspire and stimulate audiences through film education and discussions. The Institute has been programming film events such as Prince Among Slaves which was shown at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium on December1, 2007.
The film is far more than the true story of an African Prince (Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Sori) who was sold into slavery in the American South in 1788. The Moslem Prince was enslaved for 40 years. Then he regained his freedom and returned to Africa. He married a Christian woman enslaved like him named Isabelle and had children. Abdul Rahman received a traditional Moslem education which was seen by the flashbacks in the movie from the Arabic scriptures with his father sitting next to him while he was practicing his religion. He read and wrote passages from the Qu’ran. He was sent abroad to study Islam, astronomy, the law, and calculations. This film has an important message and conveys understanding of the past and how race relations have changed.
Directed by Alejandro G. Monteverde and written by him with Patrick Million and Leo Severino, the movie, Bella offers tender and caring messages to the viewers. A striking performance was given by Eduardo Verastegui (stars as Jose) and Tammy Blanchard stars as Nina, the hopeless pregnant young woman. With immediate effect, the film raises attention and captures the audience with humane, soft, pro-life message as seen in the fragments of the movie, and the scenes from New York suburbs:
• The homeless man image with his philosophical message: “God has closed my eyes. I am blind. But I can see more now!”;
• The Hispanic or Mexican-Americans, their rich family tradition, the importance of lost family values;
• The significance of an adopted child; and
• The misty consciousness of the young woman who has an uncertain future and who needs a helping hand.
All had one thing in common: “Life is precious, no matter who you are or where you come from…..” The importance of family life is reflected all throughout the episodes.
Heyecan Veziroglu is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run jointly by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.