AFI FEST Boston IFF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FEST PAN-AFRICAN FEST Belfast Film Festival/United Kingdom

In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy a firestorm erupts when Mayor Larry Ramond of Lewiston, Maine sends an open letter to 1,100 newly arrived Somali refugees advising them that the city's resources are strained to the limit and asking other Somalis not to move to the city. Interpreted as a rallying cry by white supremacist groups across the United States, THE LETTER documents the crossfire of emotions and events, culminating in a "hate" rally convened by the World Church of the Creator and a counter "peace" rally involving 4,000 Lewiston residents supporting ethnic and cultural diversity.

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"A documentary thrill-ride... ...An excellent job of capturing Lewiston's explosion. ...The terrific new documentary THE LETTER... moves as breathlessly as a Hollywood thriller — only it's much more frightening, because it's true."
Russell Scott Smith, The New York Post
"Mr. Hamzeh's film is responsible and intelligent, and important as a record of a disturbing incident. And there is something particularly thrilling about the sight of white Mainers, bundled up against the New England snows, happily swaying and shouting the word 'freedom' to the beat of an African drum."
Anita Gates, The New York Times
"This frantic, unbearably tense documentary about the influx of Somalian refugees into a sleepy Maine town and the explosion of hatred that resulted isn’t just an arresting look at an important, little-known news event; it’s an expertly woven narrative, as nail-bitingly effective as any good Hollywood thriller."
Critics Pick! New York Magazine
"...A thoughtful, historically grounded, and utterly absorbing look at a quintessential American experience."
Hazel-Dawn Dumpert, LA Weekly
“Ziad H. Hamzeh's THE LETTER is an especially dramatic work… …A study of the American Dream in collapse…”
Robert Koehler, Variety
“…A powerful and timely portrait of the tensions that can be generated by immigration situations, especially in a post-Sept. 11 world. "…THE LETTER is an important social document that merits widespread exposure.”
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter


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