Livia Firth's Mumia Abu-Jamal film to launch at special London event
Death penalty film to be centerpiece of event with Livia and Colin Firth, Sam Roddick, Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman, Ben Chaplin, Ben Barnes, Beverley Knight and others
Evening a ‘Bondage To Freedom’ tribute to campaigning work of Dame Anita Roddick
A hard-hitting new documentary film on the case of US death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will launch at a special event at the Ritzy Picturehouse Cinema in Brixton, south London on Thursday 23 October.
The multi-media event, entitled “Voices”, will also see tributes paid to the Body Shop founder and human rights campaigner Dame Anita Roddick - including by her daughter Sam Roddick, herself a notable campaigner with her “Bondage For Freedom” pressure group and merchandising outfit - as well as campaigning on behalf of two US prisoners in Louisiana (formerly part of a group known as the “Angola 3”).
The evening’s centrepiece is the feature-length documentary “In Prison My Whole Life”, which examines the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther Party activist who has been in prison for murder in the United States since 1981, much of that time facing execution.
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s original trial was unfair and in violation of international standards. US federal appeals have failed to correct the violations of Mumia Abu-Jamal's fair trial rights although a court recently ruled that there should be a new sentencing hearing in his case. It is not clear whether prosecutors will again seek a death sentence and Amnesty International is meanwhile calling for a fresh trial at which the death penalty will be completely ruled out.
The 90-minute film profiles Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case through the eyes of 26-year-year-old British man William Francome, born on the day of Abu-Jamal’s arrest. “In Prison My Whole Life” was directed by Marc Evans and produced by Livia Firth and Nick Goodwin Self. The acclaimed actor Colin Firth is the film’s executive producer. The film also features interviews with writers Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky, as well as the musicians Mos Def, Snoop Dogg and Steve Earle.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“It’s shocking that the US justice system has repeatedly failed to address serious violations of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s fundamental fair trial rights.
“We’ve repeatedly drawn attention to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s plight and we strongly welcome this film as a fresh opportunity to focus attention on his current situation.
“We hope the film’s viewers will back our call for a fair retrial for Mumia Abu-Jamal - and also support our work opposing the death penalty in all cases in the US and around the world.”
Livia Firth said:
“We are incredibly proud of working with Amnesty in the distribution of the movie and in helping them campaign against the death penalty.”
In addition to the film screening the “Voices” event will comprise readings, music from Beverley Knight and a panel discussion - including with Amnesty International death penalty expert Piers Bannister.
The film is set to screen in selected cinemas around the country from 25 October.
Note to editors:
Programme and booking info for the “Voices” event in Brixton: