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in theaters - The Letter - main
in theaters - The Letter - main

Premiering at AFI FEST 2003, The Letter was written and directed by Ziad H. Hamzeh (Shadow Glories), and produced by Hamzeh, Bert Brown and Marc Sandler. The film chronicles the turmoil economically struggling and overwhelmingly white Lewiston, Maine faced when 1,100 former Somali refugees relocated there en-masse in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy - referred to at the time as the "Somali invasion" by the international news media. Passions were enflamed when Lewiston's then mayor, Larry Raymond, wrote an open letter to the Somali community asking them to tell friends and family not to move into the city. The ensuing controversy pitted anti-immigration white supremacist groups against local community activists supporting the Somalis, culminating in simultaneous competing rallies that necessitated the largest police action in Maine's history to ensure the safety of the city's residents. In addition to its AFI FEST 2003 debut, The Letter won the International Spirit Award for Best Documentary at the 2004 Boston International Film Festival, was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2004 Pan-African Film Festival, and was selected to open the 2004 Amnesty International Film Festival in Pittsburgh.

AFD is gearing up for a fall release of the film.
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