Village of Peace

The New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire has come on board as executive producer for the new documentary The Village of Peace.

The film, which was produced and directed by Ben Schuder and Niko Philipdies, with executive producers Jack Madigan and Aaron McCreary, chronicles the African Hebrew Israelites, a community who migrated from Chicago to Israel in the late 1960s, and intertwines the story of four villagers to provide an in-depth and moving view into the community.

According to Schuder, Stoudemire was first made aware of the film through Twitter, when he sent him a trailer; and the Knicks star was so taken by the story that he arranged to meet Ben and his producer brother Sam, after seeing several rough cuts of the film and providing input.

The African Hebrew Israelites first began their migration to Israel from Chicago in 1967, and, in the film, the founders of the Village recount their epic journey from the backdrop of oppression and upheaval in Chicago, through Liberia, to what they now call home, in the Negev Desert.

Originally some 300 people made the migration to Israel, and now more than 5,000 African Israelites live there. The stories of four villagers are woven together to portray a community inspired by ancient scripture, determined to live life in its purest form. Their unique culture “evolves from an uncommon interpretation of the Torah mandating a life practice that includes polygamy, natural birth, veganism and a rigorous emphasis on health.

The film will make its world premiere tonight at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival before continuing to other film festivals, and, eventually, a TV or cable broadcast premiere.

Here's the trailer for the film (And yes you got me. I confess that I had to look up who Stoudemire is. What can I say? I don’t watch sports):