UPDATE: The screening takes place on May 13th at 7 p.m., not on May 12th as the organizers previously reported.
The film producer of a new political thriller yet to be publicly released is hosting a prescreening fundraising event at a Southern California church to help purchase a home for the family of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is being held captive in Iran for his faith.
Daniel Lusko, writer and director of the film "Persecuted," has partnered with Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel to host the movie event at the Rancho Mirage 16 Theater in Palm Springs, Calif., on May 13th at 7 p.m.
"We're honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with such a courageous family," said Lusko. "Movies come and go and filmmakers like me don't face much persecution. But men and women like the Abedinis face persecution and death every single day. I hope the news of our standing with Pastor Abedini and his wife and children reaches him in his prison cell and gives him strength and courage to keep fighting for truth and freedom."
Abedini, a U.S. citizen currently serving eight years in prison in Iran, was arrested in July 2012 while working on an orphanage project and was accused by Islamic authorities of "threatening national security."
Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel has been raising money to support the Abedini family, and has raised over $190,000 to date. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Abedini family. Tickets are $10. "Persecuted" debuts on July 18th on 600 screens.
"With all the religious persecution in the world we must take active steps that this tyranny not come to United States soil," said Merrily Hagerman, who has been organizing Calvary Chapel's efforts. "The time is now to let our voices be heard here and abroad that this inhuman cruelty will not be tolerated."
"Persecuted" is the story of a modern-day evangelist named John Luther, played by SAG Award-nominated and Saturn Award winning actor James Remar ("X-Men: First Class," "Dexter," "Django: Unchained"). Luther is the last holdout for a national endorsement to make sweeping reform in freedom of speech.
As the government is mandating political correctness while covertly waging a war against religious organizations, a U.S. Senator, portrayed by Oscar-nominated actor Bruce Davison ("X-Men," "Lost," "Castle"), and his political allies create a sinister plan of denial and scandal to frame John Luther for murder. Suddenly his once normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive vowing to expose those responsible. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the moral ethics and freedoms of America.
The cast of "Persecuted" includes Dean Stockwell ("Air Force One," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Star Trek"), Fred Thompson ("Law & Order," "Die Hard 2," "Hunt for Red October," "No Way Out"), Brad Stine (recognized as God's Comic by The New Yorker magazine, social commentator on Fox & Friends, Marriage Retreat) Raoul Trujillo ("Apocalypto," "Cowboys and Aliens," "The New World"), Natalie Grant (five-time Dove Award-winning singer and songwriter) and Gretchen Carlson (Fox News).
On the Web: http://www.persecutedmovie.com/