Essay Film Series: “Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs” (2015) by Michael Singh
Friday, February 5, 2016 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. EST* The Jerusalem Fund
*Screening begins promptly at 6:00. A Light Snack is served. RSVP is REQUESTED.
Narrated by Mike Farrell, Valentino’s Ghost exposes the way America’s foreign policy agenda in the Middle East influences Hollywood and mainstream media portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. Premiering at the 2012 Venice Film Festival in Italy to a standing ovation, Valentino’s Ghost tracks the transition from the Arab as “Romantic Hero” to the Arab today as the embodiment of evil. It highlights the question, why do supremely talented artists and intellectuals in the United States consider it perfectly “realistic” to depict Arabs and Muslims in a fashion that would be described as bigoted, if applied to blacks, Jews, gays, Native Americans, et al.?
This 95-minute film features fresh, riveting and often stunning perspectives from the legendary late American writer Gore Vidal; John Mearsheimer, author of The Israel Lobby; celebrated British war correspondent Robert Fisk; Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Anthony Shadid; Harvard and Oxford historian Niall Ferguson; historian Melani McAlister; TV star Tony Shalhoub; media expert Jack Shaheen; and Hollywood writer Alan Sharp.
“The 2015 re-release of Valentino’s Ghost condenses the film’s earlier version by 15 minutes and adds 20 minutes of new material, including segments regarding the Israeli bombing of Gaza, the Charlie Hebdo murders, the Hollywood film American Sniper, the San Bernardino mass shooting, and Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim crusade, while redirecting the 2012 version’s attention to the Arab Uprisings, toward the current phenomenon of ISIS. The updated Valentino’s Ghost is starting slowly to be picked up by small independent film festivals in North America, where the need for its viewing is most urgent, and continues to seek a distributor.” (Ginsberg, Mondoweiss)
To read a recent article about this film, click here.
2015. 95 minutes.
About the Director
Michael Singh was born in the United States but spent his childhood in the Indian Himalayas. He has been making non-fiction films for 25 years from his base in L.A. His work includes Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory (PBS), which he wrote and Associate Produced; and the medical reality series Chicago’s Lifeline, which received “Best Health Series” at the International Health and Medical Medial Award. He also made three award-winning Sikh-themed documentary shorts, and has worked as a professional grant writer for other documentary filmmakers.
For the last ten years Singh has researched, written, directed, and co-produced the internationally acclaimed documentary feature film Valentino’s Ghost. He is currently making The Delhi Temple Massacre, an eye-witness documentary account of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs by government forces in India.