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Playing @ West End Cinema: “Stolen Seas”

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 by

Looking for an indie fix in the Washington D.C. area tonight? West End Cinema will host the gripping documentary Stolen Seas, with panel discussion after the screening. For more information on this event and to purchase tickets head over to the West End Cinema event page.

Thymaya Payne’s “riveting” documentary feature about Somali pirates, Stolen Seas, will make its Washington D.C. debut on Wednesday, January 30th at the West End Cinema (for tickets, click here). The screening will be hosted by 100 Reporters and will conclude with a panel discussion and audience Q&A session.

The expert post-screening panel will feature author, consultant, and strategic analyst Martin Murphy, who has an international reputation in the field of piracy. Murphy will be joined by Matthew Peed, partner at the D.C. law firm Clinton & Peed and lead defense attorney in America’s first universal jurisdiction piracy prosecution since 1820, as well as Urmila Venugopalan, the South Asia Lead and Manager for the Oceans Beyond Piracy Program at One Earth Future. The panel will be moderated by Diana Jean Schemo, co-founder and executive editor of 100Reporters.

With interviews from real pirates, hostages, hostages’ relatives, ship owners, pirate negotiators and experts on piracy and international policy, Thymaya Payne’s Stolen Seas is an eye opening refutation of preconceived ideas on how piracy has become the world’s most frightening multi-million dollar growth industry. The gripping film presents a chilling exploration of the Somali pirate phenomenon from start to finish.

Stolen Seas begins with the CEC Future, a Danish-owned merchant ship that is on high alert. Sailing inside the pirate-infested swath of sea between Somalia and Yemen, the ship’s captain blinks hard at the radar screen where a light begins to flash. Machine guns sound on the boat’s hull and for 2 months this 13-man crew will be held at the mercy of Somali pirates, helpless as hostage negotiations threaten their lives and cameras capture every move. The pirates’ translator, Ishmael Ali, a single dad who may or may not have stumbled into this controversial role, puts in a call to the shipping magnate’s CEO Per Gullestrup, demanding an exorbitant $7 million. The ship owner’s response is the first of many misfires and communications to come. These two adversaries will have to become unlikely allies as they race against time in an attempt to keep the crew from being killed by their violent captors.

The daring feature has been hailed by Variety as “Riveting,” expressing that “Payne manages to construct what could have been a mere talking-head doc into something visceral, immediate and in many ways illicit”; Hollywood Reporter calls Payne’s “bold debut” a “high-energy chronicle of a ship’s hijacking”; D Magazine touts the film as “a fascinating look at Somali piracy” that “excels…in its access to the pirates themselves and its thorough picking-apart of the motivations behind all the players involved.”

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