1 hour 33 mins | English | USA | Documentary
Production Status: Completed
Logline: Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs and Muslims, a documentary about America’s socially acceptable bigotry.
- New York Times / Critic's Pick: "ENGROSSING … gets you thinking … Valentino’s Ghost is an invaluable entry in the national dialogue on the subject [of the Middle East]. “
- Village Voice: "Valentino's Ghost is both sobering and illuminating, and its execution is thrilling."
- “It … makes the connection clear: America is only able to make the moral compromises we've made because generations of storytelling have convinced us we're morally superior to a group of people we barely know.”– John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
– “Valentino’s Ghost is a great and very important film.” Alberto Barbera, Director, Venice Film Festival, Italy, where Valentino’s Ghost premiered.
- “A brilliant new film.” – M J Rosenberg, Media Matters
- “Every school and politician should see this film. It's one of the most illuminating films of the Israeli/Palestinian crisis I've ever seen. ” – Elliot Kanbar, President, The QUAD Cinema, New York
MediaFusion Entertainment is proud to be the distributor of Educational/ Institutional rights of Valentino's Ghost. Contact Carol Bidault and Joanne Cassidy for more information.
Synopsis: The United States is undergoing one of the most polarized periods in its history, with an extremist US vs THEM rhetoric coming from the Oval Office. Today, anybody and any group can become fair game. President Trump has become the world’s most notorious Islamophobe, even calling for “a Muslim ban.” However, he is not alone. He is merely bringing to the surface, the negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims that has been stoked by Hollywood, the mainstream media, and even the State Department for over 100 years. How did we as a nation get to this point? Valentino’s Ghost articulates, in a powerful manner, the state of our nation.
Directed by Michael Singh, narrated by Mike Farrell, Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs and Muslims examines the ways in which America’s foreign policy agenda in the Middle East drives the U.S. media’s portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. The film lays bare the truths behind taboo subjects that are conspicuously avoided, or merely treated as sound bites, by the mainstream American media: “Why do they hate us?” “Why do we hate them?” What were the events that led to the 9/11 attacks? What are the politics behind the U.S.-Israeli relationship? Why is there a robust debate about these subjects in Europe, the Arab World and in Israel itself, but not in the U.S.?
A dozen experts commentators including Gore Vidal, Robert Fisk, John Mearsheimer, Anthony Shadid, and Niall Ferguson elucidate the reasons behind the lack of a serious national dialogue on these topics and reveal and the U.S. government’s role—in concert with the obedient mainstream media-- in perpetuating many Americans’ fear and loathing of Arabs, Muslims, and Islam.
Until the 1930s, Americans had little interest in the Middle East, other than as a fantasy playland, depicted in a slew of early Hollywood movies such as the hugely successful “Sheikh” movies starring Rudolph Valentino. But as America’s economic and political interests in the Mideast grew over the decades, Arabs and Muslims were increasingly depicted as embodiments of evil, in the news media, in Hollywood films, on TV, and even in children’s cartoons.
About the Filmmakers:
Michael Singh was the writer and Associate Producer of the definitive bio-pic Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory (PBS). He was Senior Producer and writer for the Chicago's Lifeline series that launched Discovery's Health Channel and won the Freddie Award for "Best Health Series" both years when he helmed the show. He has made award-winning documentary shorts on Sikh history and is currently editing the feature-length documentary Riding the Tiger, about his witnessing the massacre of Sikhs in New Delhi in 1984.
Valentino's Ghost is his debut as a feature documentary film director. The impetus for Michael's decision to make Valentino's Ghost comes from his observation of the maltreatment of Arabs and Muslims in America, ranging from violent hate crimes to bigoted portraits of them created by some of America's most talented and liberal filmmakers, writers and politicians. Michael was raised in the Indian Himalaya mountains. He studied film production at USC's Division of Cinema/TV. He is based in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife Joanna Lancaster.
Catherine's career includes 14 years of journalism, five years' work on Valentino's Ghost, and three years at Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures. She was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, and a correspondent for The Daily Telegraph in London, writing and reporting on topics including the media, the arts, and Hollywood. She also has written for The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Magazine, CondÈ Nast's Tatler (London), and The New Scotsman (UK). Before that, she edited and reported for California Business Magazine, and was a contributing researcher for a biography of Graham Greene, The Third Woman, published in the U.S. and the UK. Catherine was born and raised in the New York area by her English mother and her American father. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Composer and Performer:
Lisa Coleman, who wrote and performed the original musical score for Valentino's Ghost is one-half of the Emmy Award-winning composing duo, Wendy & Lisa, based in Los Angeles. Lisa and Wendy Melvoin won an Emmy in 2010 for their Main Title Theme for Showtime's “Nurse Jackie” and have been nominated in the same category in 2012 for composing the Main Title to the FOX television show TOUCH (starring Kiefer Sutherland). Lisa Coleman has composed for many films and TV shows, including top box office films such as Soul Food, Dangerous Minds, and Just Wright, and her television composing career has included HEROES, Crossing Jordan, Carnivale (HBO - MainTitle), MERCY, and Bionic Woman. After studying classical piano from the age of 5, Lisa left home at age 19 to tour as keyboardist with what would become one of the biggest bands of the 80s, Prince and the Revolution. She is based in Los Angeles and is happily married to her longtime manager, Renata Kanclerz. The couple has a beautiful daughter and two rescue greyhounds.
Brad Fuller, Catherine Jordan, and Michael Singh. Before editing Valentino's Ghost, Brad Fuller edited Two Hands: The Leon Fleischer Story which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. He has edited or co-edited many of the films of the legendary documentarian Errol Morris, stretching over the last 25 years.