National Geographic Entertainment to release “Amreeka” beginning Sept. 4

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Other Cities Around the U.S. Will Follow

LOS ANGELES (June 24, 2009)—National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) will release Cherien Dabis’ comedy “Amreeka” in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 4, 2009, with a national rollout to follow. “Amreeka” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, at New Directors/New Films (a co-presentation of The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center) and in Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI prize.

“Amreeka” tells the adventures of Muna, an indomitable woman from the West Bank who moves to the promised land of small town Illinois with her teenage son, Fadi. In America, as her son navigates high school, Muna works hard and dreams of a new life. Nisreen Faour stars as Muna; Melkar Muallen plays her 16-year-old son. Also in the cast are Hiam Abbass, Alia Shawkat, Yussef Abu-Warda and Joseph Ziegler.

Written and directed by Dabis, “Amreeka” was produced by Christina Piovesan and Paul Barkin.Alicia Sams, Cherien Dabis and Greg Keever were executive producers; Liz Jarvis and Al-Zain Al-Sabah were co-producers.

This National Geographic Entertainment Presentation is a National Geographic/Imagenation Abu Dhabi Release in association with Levantine Entertainment, A First Generation Films Production, an Alcina Pictures/Buffalo Gal Pictures/Eagle Vision Media Group Production produced in association with Manitoba Film & Music, Rotana Studios and Showtime


Earlier in her career Dabis was a recipient of a 2007 National Geographic All Roads Film Project seed grant for her short film “Make a Wish.”

National Geographic Films President Adam Leipzig said, “‘Amreeka’ is a great culture clash comedy, and with it Cherien Dabis has announced herself as one of the great new talents in film. It is both funny and moving in its depiction of the hectic work it takes to attain the American dream. This international story is a perfect fit for National Geographic as we aspire to inspire people to care about our world. Since Cherien received one of the first National Geographic All Roads grants, working with her on ‘Amreeka’ is especially exciting.”

Dabis added, “While ‘Amreeka’ is a very personal film, it’s a universal story about family, the sacrifices we make for those we love and the often elusive search for belonging. I have no doubt that we’ve found the right home for it.”




The release schedule for “Amreeka”:

Sept. 4New York

Los Angeles

Sept. 18Chicago

San Francisco


Washington, D.C.


New York and Los Angeles: Check local listings for additional theaters Orange County, Calif.

Sept. 25Philadelphia





Oct. 2Miami

Orlando, Fla.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Portland, Ore.


San Diego



Please note, as with all films, dates are subject to change. Check local listings for theaters screening the film in each city.

For group sales info, go to For more information about the film, visit

About National Geographic Entertainment

National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) includes National Geographic Films (NGF) , which co-presented the 2005 Academy Award-winning “March of the Penguins” and 2004 Oscar-nominated film “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” and National Geographic Cinema Ventures (NGCV), which released both domestically and internationally the 3-D concert film“U2 3D” in 2008 to critical acclaim. NGCV set giant-screen box office records with “Mysteries of Egypt,” and recently with “Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure.” Adam Leipzig is president of NGF, Lisa Truitt is president of NGCV and Mark Katz is president of distribution of NGCV.

NGE combines into a single operating group National Geographic’s Cinema Ventures, Films, Kids Entertainment, Home Entertainment and Music & Radio. NGE is part of National Geographic Global Media, bringing together all of National Geographic’s editorial platforms in order to streamline collaboration and further support the Society’s mission. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” National Geographic works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 360 million people worldwide each month through magazines, books, digital media, television, radio, music and film. It funds more than 250 scientific research, exploration and conservation projects each year and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. For more information, visit


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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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