The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) held a screening of the recently released film, The Sultan and the Saint, by Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), on Thursday, April 6. Alex Kronemer, Executive Producer and CEO of UPF, was present at the screening together with Sarah Kalim Ullah, UPF’s Development Coordinator.
Dr. Abubaker Al-Shingieti, Executive Director of IIIT, welcomed everyone to the event and shared the long association IIIT has had with Alex. Alex spoke about the importance of telling Muslim stories in these times when people have irrational fears about Islam and Muslims. Calling it an “opportunity,” he related anecdotes from his life of how people’s attitudes changed after they experienced positive stories about Muslim through the media.
The mission of Unity Productions Foundation (UPF) is to counter bigotry and create peace through the media. UPF produces films that tell compelling stories for television, online viewing, and theatrical release. These films are part of long-term educational campaigns aimed at increasing understanding among people of different faiths and cultures, especially among Muslims and other faiths.
Alex thanked IIIT for their support over the years in spreading UPF’s work to thousands of libraries and schools. UPF films have been viewed by an estimated 150 million people worldwide and have won dozens of national and international awards. Their films include, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, Prince Among Slaves, Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story, among many others.
Something unique about The Sultan and the Saint is that it has a Christian hero, Alex said. The Sultan and the Saint tells one of the great, lost stories from history. Set in a past period of East-West conflict, it speaks with urgency to our present. Two men of faith, one a travelling Christian preacher, the other the ruler of a Muslim Empire, bucked a century of war, distrust, and insidious propaganda in a search for mutual respect and common ground. It is the story of Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt and their meeting on a bloody battlefield during the period of Christian-Muslim conflict known as the Crusades. The film is in docudrama style and narrated by Academy Award Winner Jeremy Irons.
After the screening, Alex presented a memento from the film to Dr. Hisham Altalib, President of IIIT, and Dr. Abubaker Al-Shingieti: a shield. It was a gesture both of gratitude and recognition of IIIT’s support of the important work UPF has been doing for many years.
IIIT wishes UPF all the best on its future endeavors!