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#1 ArlingtonWest-S.M.Beach


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Posted 27 August 2004 - 07:43 PM







Los Angeles, August 26, 2004 ?

Every weekend on the beach of Santa Monica, the Veterans for Peace create a temporary cemetery ? Arlington West -- on the sand, staking precise rows of crosses, one for each American Soldier killed in the current Iraq war.

Every week, the ritual continues, until the war in Iraq ends.

The number of crosses swell -- from the 539 when The Arlington West Project began on February 15 -- as the deaths mount. And veterans, family and friends of those who have died, or are still in Iraq, join the ritual.

There are now 970 crosses.

On Sunday, August 29, film industry professionals are donating time and equipment to preserve this historic phenomenon.

To commemorate, chronicle and document this stunning, sobering, touching, indignant painful ritual of part-protest, part-statement and part-plea ? and as the number of American deaths hit 1000 ? Royer Studios, Veterans for Peace and Global Vision for Peace are collaborating to film the west coast version of Arlington Cemetery, recreated every weekend.

They will interview families and friends of those who have died or are still serving in Iraq, and veterans of Vietnam, Korea and World War Two who will be participating in the beach ceremonial. They will interview supporters and others present. Every day citizens, and famous celebrities.

The film industry professionals include Director Leszek Burzynski, who directed Keith Carradine, Peter Fonda and Kris Kristofferson in Wooly Boys, and produced Love and Action in Chicago with Jason Alexander, Kathleen Turner and Ed Asner; Cinematographer Andrew Bailis; Camera operators Ed Gutentag ("Collateral") and Oktai Ortabasi; music composers Dean Harada and Jason Moss ("Super Bowl XXXVI") and stills photographer Gary Moss.

Veteran filmmaker Bruce Royer, President/Producer at Royer Studios is spearheading this project (his 64th short film) as producer, with HeathCliff Rothman and Global Vision for Peace, Robert Ellis, and Sam Sabzehzar as co-producers.

Veterans for Peace members Mark Scully, Ed Ellis and Chuck Nixon spearhead the Arlington West Project in Santa Monica, and are veterans of Vietnam. "When I returned from Vietnam, we weren?t recognized at all. It was fifteen or twenty years before the wall came up. The sacrifice of vets should be acknowledged whether you?re for or against the war," says Ellis, who lives in Los Angeles. "It?s a non-political display. No peace symbols, no anti-war symbols. The display itself speaks about war. When people see it they start weeping. It?s a dramatic display of the loss of human life."

On a typical Sunday, says Mark Scully, "there will be active duty who come by, soldiers who have just gotten back. We had three or four last Sunday, who heard about, were drawn to it, and want to come down and honor their friends."

Says producer Bruce Royer: ?In over twenty years as a filmmaker, I have yet to encounter a message that has such a desire to be told as this deeply meaningful project by Veterans for Peace. And enlisting a talented group of filmmakers to jump on board quickly to contribute time and equipment was remarkably, but not surprisingly, easy. At this time in history, many Americans want to see change in foreign policy. Hopefully, this project will help achieve that goal.?

In addition to the expanse of crosses, Veterans for Peace display an ever-expanding board ? 2 feet by 32 feet - listing the names of soldiers who have died. The board is elevated off the sand, so that participants can write notes and post pictures.

Veterans for Peace, a United Nations NGO, is a nationwide organization of 4500 members in 100 chapters dedicated to bringing about a resolution of conflict non-violently, prevent nuclear war and advocate for nuclear disarmament. In addition to the Arlington West Project, initiated by the West Coast chapters, other projects include water purification treatment in Iraq, monitoring elections in South American and bringing rescuing children from Kosovo. The organization is composed 95% of veterans from Vietnam, World War Two, Iraq and Korea, but also accepts associate non-veteran members.

"We believe in the power of media to support and promote the message of peace," says HeathCliff Rothman, co-founder of Global Vision for Peace/ Artists for the U.N., a United Nations NGO. "When Bruce told me about his vision to produce a documentary chronicling this important grassroots dramatization of Iraq?s devastation on American troops ? let alone the devastation to Iraq ? I immediately said, ?I?m in.?"

Bruce Royer is President of Royer Studios, Inc., which provides "quality, violence-free, experientially-enriching services and products to youth, teens and young adults internationally, and is dedicated to the creation of life-enhancing products and services. Mr. Royer has produced/ directed 63 live action and animated short films, and a feature film. Royer Studios client list includes Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, D.A.R.E. America, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Fresno County Office of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, The Museum of Television and Radio, Nickelodeon, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and many more. Streaming video samples are available on-line at www.royerstudios.com.

Global Vision for Peace, a UN NGO, was founded in 2003 by HeathCliff Rothman and Xorin Balbes, initially using the global reach of the Academy Awards to broadcast a message of peace, as the Iraq war was beginning. A specially-commissioned peace pin was worn by Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Susan Sarandon, Daniel Day-Lewis, Adrien Brody and others, during the Oscar ceremonies. In 2004, GVP joined with the United Nations, and the pin, a symbol both of peace and support for the UN, was worn by Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings"), Sir Ben Kingsley, Annie Lennox, Benicio Del Toro and others. GVP is planning a ceremony at UN Headquarters in October on UN Day to honor artists who have supported the UN since its founding.

Contact: Bruce Royer, Producer
Royer Studios
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