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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
"The Ledge" – An Atheist Feature Film
The following is a guest blog from Matthew Chapman, writer and director of the new film "The Ledge."
First of all, I’d like to say how grateful I am to have been allowed to speak at the conference in Iowa, to show my film, and to drink way too much with so many great people. This was the first showing of "The Ledge" to an atheist crowd, and a great honor. I’d never been to an American Atheist meeting and the mixture of aggression, good humor and kindness was intoxicating. In fact, it stimulated me to write a piece in Huffington Post called "The Atheist In The Closet," which urges people to come out of it, no matter how hard it may be.
Since screening "The Ledge" to you all, a lot of good things have happened that I’d like to tell you about.
"The Ledge" now opens in New York and LA on July 8th.
It came out first via online streaming and then became available through Video On Demand. It’s still available by these two methods. It then goes theatrical. I agreed to this release pattern because it meant anyone anywhere in America could see it and still can. Already well over 100,000 thousand "viewings" have been reported. This means that at least 200,000 people, most of them not atheists, have seen a film that clearly advocates our position.
But while I’m happy with these results, and happy that the "The Ledge" is opening theatrically in New York and Los Angeles, these are probably the two cities in America that least need to see it. I want it to open in the small towns and cities where religion is most oppressive and where atheists considering coming out most need support. Only when this happens, will local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and churches get sufficiently interested to cover it and talk about atheism.
But the only way it will go nationwide is if it does well during its first "test run" in New York and LA. A movie’s potential is measured by how well it does on its first weekend, and then how well it holds for the next couple of weeks.
If any of you in the New York or Los Angeles areas can go and see the film, or tell friends to go see the film, it could be a big achievement for us as a movement. When "Passion of the Christ" came out, religious people supported it, the film did well, and more faith based movies followed. The same can happen with this film. It can open doors for other secular directors. To see ways you can help, please visit the How To Help part of Ledgemovie.com and do whatever you can.
It opens July 8th at the IFC Center, 323, Avenue of the Americas (at West 3rd St), NY 10014, and at The Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd, (near Crescent Heights), West Hollywood, CA 90046.
Can I rely on your aggressive support?
By Matthew Chapman