Ghazi/Pickart’s ‘Fordson’ doc rolls out theatrically

Bilal Abu-Omarah prepares for Fordson’s game against Belleville High.

The important film that documentarian Michael Moore says he wants “everyone in the country to watch, Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football, will screen exclusively for local filmmakers here Monday, Sept. 12 during its national theatrical rollout that week. 

“We’re inviting fellow professionals to come celebrate with us and see that high-quality, nationally distributed theatrical releases are being produced and post produced in Chicago,” says Fordson editor Ed Pickart of Motion Post.

Pickart personally bought out the AMC Showplace Village Crossing theatre in Skokie.  It is one of 18 AMC theatres in 11 cities, including New York and Los Angeles that will screen the prize-winning doc Sept. 9-15.

‘Fordson’ postproducer/editor  Ed Pickart of Motion PostCreated and financed entirely by pioneer television sports producer Rashid Ghazi of North Shore Films, Fordson tells the story of a predominantly Arab-American football team from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Mich. during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

Dearborn has the largest concentration of Arabs in any metropolitan area outside the Middle East.

Ghazi and crew followed the players over 10 days of principal photography that uniquely coincided with the eighth anniversary of 9/11 in 2009, Ramadan, and the team’s biggest game of the year versus its cross-town rival Dearborn High.

The filmmakers documented the team’s struggles in fasting from food and drink while attempting to maintain its intensity playing and practicing football. The movie also depicts a community holding onto its Islamic faith while trying to gain social acceptance years after 9/11.

“This is an American rite of passage – groups of immigrants come to this country and struggle assimilating but eventually integrate into the culture and become part of the melting pot.”

“I don’t think anyone has been given access this intimate to the Muslim-American community in post 9/11 America the way Rashid was,” says Pickart, partner with Jeff Evenson at Forest Park-based Motion Post.

Pickart began editing hours of raw footage in late 2009
Rashid Ghazi, ‘Fordson’ executive producer/director
Pickart and Fordson executive producer/director Ghazi have worked together on sports shows since 2001, when Ghazi produced and Pickart headed postproduction on Preps: Chicago Hoops, a 30-minute reality sports series that aired on Fox Sports Net over 65 episodes in 2001.

Pickart says Ghazi approached him in late 2009 with plenty of raw footage, but no script.

“He came to me to help shape this into a narrative arc. Being so close to the project, Rashid needed the perspective of an editor and post producer,” says Pickart, who began editing Fordson in May 2010 and finished last December.

Pickart brought in award-winning docmaker Ruth Leitman to write the story. “We worked hard on creating a personal, respectful perspective and fashioning these stories to reveal these characters — the football players, fathers, mothers and others involved.”

Fordson was produced by Ash-har Quraishi and Basma Babar-Quraishi and shot by Detroit-based TV sports DPs Michael Shamus and Mark Berg, with music and sound design by award-winning doc composer Joel Goodman of Los Angeles.

Fordson has been gathering acclaim from film festivals this year: Special Jury Prize from Slamdance and Best Documentary from Manhattan, Detroit and Traverse City film festivals.

“Since we released the first trailer for the film last summer, interest in it has soared,” says Pickart. The trailers for Fordson, also completed at Motion Post, can be viewed here.

To reserve your free seat at the Fordson screening, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. contact Ed Pickart at ed@motionpost.tv or phone 708/427-1254. Reception follows the screening.

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