You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

9500 Liberty

YouTube series is now hitting bigger screens in feature form.

Cast:
With: Greg Letiecq, Corey A. Stewart, Charlie T. Deane, Guadencio Fernandez, Alanna Almeda, Elena Schlossberg, Frank J. Principi, Martin E. Nohe.

Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, a la Arizona’s subsequent hot-button law. Vivid pulse-taking of current immigration debates is slowly booking urban arthouse screens. Broadcast berths will follow.

A building boom requiring cheap labor (since replaced by a foreclosure epidemic) sharply increased Prince William County’s Latino population, now about 20%. Conservative longtime residents eagerly jumped on a bandwagon driven by Greg Letiecq, president of illegal-immigration crackdown org Help Save Manassas. His popular blog features lurid descriptions of crimes — only those committed by Latinos — and at one point suggested the area was being invaded by armed revolutionary Zapatistas.

A piece of work, Letiecq (who grows less cooperative as the docu proceeds) dismisses pro-immigrant protestors as “pathetic,” scoffing, “Demonstrations are a tool of the fringe left and of the Third World. We don’t demonstrate; we write letters to the editor. We pass legislation.”

His crony, Corey Stewart, tries to enact a heightened police-search directive based on the notion that undocumented residents have resulted in “economic hardship and lawlessness.”

But in fact, overall crime has declined, and the resolution itself has a disastrous impact in already tough times. Latinos threatened with separation from individual family members, or stopped regularly for bogus reasons (e.g. “slightly bent license plate”), take their purchase power to friendlier businesses elsewhere or leave the area entirely, draining Prince William’s tax base.

Is there really a crisis of illegals here? White residents seem whipped up by fear rather than fact, their most verifiable complaints being simply about cultural differences — loud salsa music, “overcrowded” dwellings next door or the paralyzing horror of hearing Spanish spoken at the supermarket.

The vast majority of local Hispanics are naturalized citizens appalled by what an activist calls official “permission to treat people of color like dirt.”

Other significant voices of reason include two fed-up middle-class Caucasian moms, as well as police chief Charlie Deane — a much-loved figure who opposes the resolution because, for one thing, it could make his department a magnet for racial profiling lawsuits.

Vivid personalities, hot emotions and Machiavellian politics make “9500 Liberty” potent storytelling, albeit without much resolution. At times it seems an unnecessarily first-person documentary, particularly since helmer Annabel Park (whose co-director b.f., Eric Byler, lives in Prince William) provides a girlish, hesitant narrator voice that sounds younger than her years. General assembly is sturdy if unslick.

9500 Liberty

Production: An ID Alliance release of an Interactive Democracy Alliance production. Produced by Chris Rigopulos, Eric Byler, Annabel Park. Executive producer, Alex Rigopulos. Directed, written by Annabel Park, Eric Byler.

Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-Digibeta), Byler, Jeff Man; editor, Byler; music, Michael Brook, Cristian Bettler; associate producers, Jeff Man, Magda Liang Stafstrom, Chris McMorrow. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, June 3, 2010. Running time: 80 MIN.

With: With: Greg Letiecq, Corey A. Stewart, Charlie T. Deane, Guadencio Fernandez, Alanna Almeda, Elena Schlossberg, Frank J. Principi, Martin E. Nohe.

More Film

  • Project Runway

    Weinstein Co. Feeling Pressure to Find a Buyer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day review

    'Terminator' Writing Team Adds Billy Ray to Put Final Polish on Script

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

  • Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva Starring in

    Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva Starring in Thriller 'Inherit the Viper'

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

  • Mahershala Ali Burn

    Mahershala Ali to Star in, Executive Produce Crime Thriller 'Burn'

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

  • Hermes holiday window

    Le Gentil Garcon Brings Classic Hollywood to Hermes for the Holidays

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

  • Justice League

    Box Office: 'Justice League' Heading for Disappointing $95 Million Opening

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

  • Noah Baumbach Casts Adam Driver, Scarlett

    Noah Baumbach Casts Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern in Next Film

    Having already stirred considerable attention as a YouTube series, even influencing the controversy it chronicles, “9500 Liberty” is now hitting bigger screens in feature form. This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussions in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect of being an illegal alien, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content