Stephen Vittoria says: Let’s get Mumia to the Oscars
Carlotta Mohamed | 10/23/2013, 3:50 p.m.
Stephen Vittoria, the producer and director of 'Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary,' in collaboration with co-producer Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, is pushing for LDR to be nominated for the Best Documentary at the 2014 Academy Awards. The movie chronicles the struggles of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Black male in prison for life, who was convicted in killing a white police officer 30 years ago. In order to be qualified, Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary is being re-released in NYC to promote the film for more views, and will be shown at the Village Quad Cinema at 34 West 13 Street for a week-long run from from Oct 25-31.
“This is a pivotal moment in the life of this film in that Academy recognition—even making the shortlist—could bring national mainstream attention to Mumia’s story and struggle,” Vittoria explained. “The film has particular value for students and educators in that it places Mumia’s life story in the context of historical, institutional racism (particularly in Philadelphia) and the pernicious growth of the Prison Industrial Complex.”
According to the New York Amsterdam News, Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence had been commuted to a life term without parole and was transferred to the general prison population. His supporters wanted his murder conviction to be overturned, aiming to have him released from behind bars.
A former Black Panther and freelance radio reporter, Mr. Abu-Jamal was placed on death row to be executed even though he claimed he was innocent during his trial in 1982. A “Free Mumia Movement” was created and became prominent on college campuses, where students collected donations for his legal defense fund. The trial was said to be a miscarriage of justice based on racism, or a cut-and-dried murder of a law enforcement officer in which the issue of race prevented the justice from being carried out.