Sundance Channel to Premiere 'On the Road in America'

12-Part Doc Series Looks at U.S. Through Lens of 4 Young Arabs During

10-Week Cross-Country Journey

Begins June 4, Airs Wednesday Nights at 9:00 ET/PT



Feb 19, 2008, 00:00 ET from Sundance Channel

    NEW YORK, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Sundance Channel will premiere "On
 the Road in America," the 12-part documentary series that follows four
 young Arabs as they travel across the United States, on June 4, 2008.
 Created by Academy Award(R)-nominated producer Jerome Gary (Pumping Iron),
 and executive produced by Gary and Leon Shahabian, the series was conceived
 with the intent to expose Middle Eastern audiences to the diversity and
 uniqueness of the United States and Americans. Ultimately, "On the Road in
 America" highlights the differences and similarities between the two
 cultures and facilitates a deeper understanding of each.
 
     The series originally aired on Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC).
 "On the Road in America" airs Wednesday nights as a weekly half-hour
 program, premiering Wednesday, June 4th at 9:00 ET/PT. It is produced by
 Layalina Productions of Washington, D.C. in association with Visionaire
 Media of Los Angeles. It was made possible by a grant from the Richard M.
 Fairbanks Foundation of Indiana.
 
     The program's cast includes Ali Amr, a friendly 22-year-old Egyptian
 who is studying accounting at the American University in Cairo; Sanad Al
 Kubaissi, an upbeat Saudi in his sophomore year at the American University
 in Dubai; and Mohamed Abou-Ghazal, an outspoken 27-year-old Jordanian who
 has lived most of his life in Lebanon and completed his medical studies at
 the American University of Beirut. Rounding out the ensemble is Lara Abou
 Saifan, a dynamic young Palestinian woman who has been married for five
 years and lives in Beirut. Lara is also a member of the production team,
 and serves as a bridge between her fellow travelers and the crew. Traveling
 by RV across the U.S. in the summer of 2006, the cast and members of the
 production crew stopped for several days at points of interest including
 New York City, Chicago, the Mississippi Delta, Los Angeles and Big Sur.
 
     The schedule for "On the Road in America" is as follows:
 
     Wednesday, June 4th
 
     Episode 1: Washington, D.C. -- Directed by Jerome Gary. As the "On the
 Road" production team prepares to begin shooting in July 2006, war breaks
 out between Israel and Hezbollah, with Southern Lebanon as a primary
 battleground. Mohamed arrives from Lebanon with just the clothes on his
 back; he is followed by Ali and Sanad. The three young men take part in a
 conference held by the bipartisan research organization CSIS (Center for
 Strategic and International Studies). Lara is successfully re-routed out of
 Beirut and arrives in Washington, ready to begin work as both cast and crew
 member. The four young Arabs get an introduction to America's democratic
 process when they join the volunteer ranks of Washington's mayoral
 candidates.
 
     Wednesday, June 11th
 
     Episode 2: New York -- Directed by Jerome Gary. As their RV takes them
 from Washington to New York, the cast members are preoccupied by the grim
 news out of Lebanon, where war between Israel and Hezbollah rages on. In
 Manhattan, the cast surveys life in the capital of capitalism, an odyssey
 that takes them from the shopping sanctums of Fifth Avenue, to the warrens
 of Wall Street, to the basketball courts of Harlem. Then it's on to the
 Hamptons, where New Line Cinema founder Bob Shaye hosts a classic summer
 lobster boil amidst much discussion of Middle East conflict and American
 involvement. Lara reconsiders her opinions about Israelis as she spends
 more time with the series' Israeli director of photography, Guy Livneh.
 
     Wednesday, June 18th
 
     Episode 3: Chicago -- Directed by Aaron Fishman. Fishman, a Chicago
 native, sets out to show Ali, Sanad, Mohamed and Lara his hometown's
 "trifecta": food, sports and culture. The quartet is split into groups of
 two to explore Chicago's North and South Sides, communities that offer very
 different iterations of the city's signature pleasures. The travelers
 interact with an array of locals as they recruit players for the North
 Side/South Side softball game that will conclude their five-day visit.
 Tensions grow between some of the cast members and the production team, and
 Lara steps in to mediate.
 
     Wednesday, June 25th
 
     Episode 4: Mississippi Delta -- Directed by Mary Lambert. The cast sees
 another side of America when they travel to the rural South. In
 Clarkesdale, Mississippi, Jerdi Lambert's farm offers a glimpse of a more
 prosperous era, while the decaying buildings of the city's business
 district tell a different story. The cast gets a first-hand introduction to
 blues and gospel at the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, and take
 in Sunday services at a Black church. The visit wraps up with an
 old-fashioned fish fry and a jam session with local blues legend Super
 Chikan.
 
     Wednesday, July 2nd
 
     Episode 5: Montana -- Directed by Jerome Gary. A rugged pack trip into
 Yellowstone country elicits different levels of enthusiasm among the three
 cast members camped out under the stars. Meanwhile, their fellow voyager is
 treated to a stay at a modern dude ranch. The group is introduced to two
 respected Western experts, writer/anthropologist Larry Lahren and
 author/grizzly bear expert Doug Peacock. A dip into the thermal pool at
 Chico Hot Springs provides an opportunity to relax and make new friends.
 
     Wednesday, July 9th
 
     Episode 6: Los Angeles Part 1 -- Directed by Danny Bilson. Ali, Sanad,
 Mohamed and Lara get a multi-dimensional look at celebrity culture during
 their visit to Los Angeles. The itinerary includes tours of the Chinese
 Theatre and Universal Studios, as well as a visit to swag-rich enclave
 catering to the needs of Emmy Award nominees. The cast attends a special
 performance at the Laugh Factory comedy club, which is followed by a
 freewheeling discussion with the night's performers.
 
     Wednesday, July 16th
 
     Episode 7: Los Angeles Part 2 -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The second
 leg of their Los Angeles sojourn offers the cast a look at the city's
 charms and contradictions, as they travel from beach to barrio. Visiting
 one of the city's major mosques, they meet with the public relations
 director and discuss the realities of life in the U.S. after 9/11. The
 city's culture of self-improvement can be seen in multiple venues, from
 yoga classes on the West Side to the "gang rehab" services offered by the
 nonprofit organization Homeboy Industries in downtown L.A.
 
     Wednesday, July 23rd
 
     Episode 8: Big Sur Part 1 -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The cast and crew
 drive north on California's winding Highway 1 to Big Sur and their next
 destination: the Esalen Institute, a haven for alternative ideas since the
 1960s. After meeting Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, the cast takes part
 in an open forum about Middle East-U.S. relations. Ali and Mohamed let down
 their emotional guards during a group discussion moderated by
 author/teacher Byron Katie.
 
     Wednesday, July 30th
 
     Episode 9: Big Sur Part 2 -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The Esalen
 conference on Middle East-U.S. relations continues, with contributions from
 Congressman Sam Farr as well as members of the Big Sur community. The
 political gives way to the personal, as Ali, Lara and Mohamed discuss their
 experiences together in a relaxed group forum. The American leg of the
 production wraps up, and the remaining cast and crew gather at the Bay Area
 home of series creator Jerome Gary for a farewell dinner.
 
     Wednesday, August 6th
 
     Episode 10: Cairo -- Directed by Jerome Gary. Several members of the
 "On the Road" production team travel to the Middle East to visit the
 erstwhile travelers in their home countries. In Egypt, Ali introduces Lara
 and his new American friends to his family and shows off his hometown,
 Cairo. Ali's family and friends discuss their perceptions of how he has
 changed since returning from the U.S. The group enjoys Ramadan
 celebrations, a tour of the pyramids and a sailing trip on the Nile.
 
     Wednesday, August 13th
 
     Episode 11: Dubai and Beirut -- Directed by Jerome Gary. Sanad shows
 the Americans around Dubai, where modernity co-exists with tradition and a
 tourist itinerary includes skiing and dune buggy excursions. On the campus
 of the American University in Dubai, Sanad and his friends discuss his
 travels in the U.S. and the larger topic of American hegemony. The Middle
 East tour concludes in Beirut with visits to Lara and Mohamed. We meet
 Lara's mother and her husband, an interior decorator who is designing their
 new home. Mohamed takes the Americans inside the medical clinic he helped
 establish in one of the city's oldest refugee camps. A hot-air balloon trip
 offers a bird's-eye view of the damage wreaked by the recent war between
 Israel and Hezbollah.
 
     Wednesday, August 20th
 
     Episode 12: Indiana and Wisconsin/Pilot -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The
 pilot episode of the series shows how "On the Road in America" began. Ali
 and his fellow cast members, Imad Ghalayini and Mohammed Bachouti, travel
 to the heart of the Midwest to experience America in time-honored fashion:
 the road trip. Their route takes them to a major city, Indianapolis, as
 well as the quaint small town of Madeline Island, Wisconsin.
 
     Sundance Channel
 
     Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the
 television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something
 different. Bold, uncompromising and irreverent, Sundance Channel offers
 audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries, and
 original programs, all unedited and commercial free. Launched in 1996,
 Sundance Channel is a venture of NBC Universal, CBS, and Robert Redford.
 Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance
 Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance
 mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel's
 website address is www.sundancechannel.com.
 
     Layalina Productions
 
     Layalina Productions, Inc. is a non-profit corporation based in
 Washington, D.C. Layalina was founded in March 2002 by its Chairman,
 Richard Fairbanks, the former chief U.S. negotiator for the Middle East
 Peace Process, to produce thoughtful Arabic and English language television
 programming. The corporation's Board of Counselors comprises former
 diplomats and officials, broadcasters, and private sector executives from
 the United States. Layalina's educational, debate, entertainment, and
 children's shows aim to strengthen existing bridges of mutual understanding
 between the U.S. and the Arab world and build new ones. Layalina's
 President, Marc Ginsberg, is a former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco.
 Layalina's Honorary Chairman is former President George H.W. Bush. To learn
 more about Layalina, visit www.layalina.tv.
 
     Visionaire Media
 
     Visionaire Media is a Los Angeles based production company that
 specializes in reality based films and programming with redeeming values.
 Visionaire also operates an international consultancy and training division
 that specializes in media, storytelling, scenario planning and digital
 production. Currently in production are a series on Muslim Women, Life
 After Death - the journey of Carie Lemack (feature documentary), and Esalen
 (feature documentary). American Caravan, a 13 part series about young
 Americans on the road in the Middle East, is in preproduction in
 association with Layalina Productions. Visionaire Media is headed by
 Academy Award nominated producer Jerome Gary. For more, go to
 www.Visionairemedia.com.
 
 
 

SOURCE Sundance Channel
    NEW YORK, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Sundance Channel will premiere "On
 the Road in America," the 12-part documentary series that follows four
 young Arabs as they travel across the United States, on June 4, 2008.
 Created by Academy Award(R)-nominated producer Jerome Gary (Pumping Iron),
 and executive produced by Gary and Leon Shahabian, the series was conceived
 with the intent to expose Middle Eastern audiences to the diversity and
 uniqueness of the United States and Americans. Ultimately, "On the Road in
 America" highlights the differences and similarities between the two
 cultures and facilitates a deeper understanding of each.
 
     The series originally aired on Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC).
 "On the Road in America" airs Wednesday nights as a weekly half-hour
 program, premiering Wednesday, June 4th at 9:00 ET/PT. It is produced by
 Layalina Productions of Washington, D.C. in association with Visionaire
 Media of Los Angeles. It was made possible by a grant from the Richard M.
 Fairbanks Foundation of Indiana.
 
     The program's cast includes Ali Amr, a friendly 22-year-old Egyptian
 who is studying accounting at the American University in Cairo; Sanad Al
 Kubaissi, an upbeat Saudi in his sophomore year at the American University
 in Dubai; and Mohamed Abou-Ghazal, an outspoken 27-year-old Jordanian who
 has lived most of his life in Lebanon and completed his medical studies at
 the American University of Beirut. Rounding out the ensemble is Lara Abou
 Saifan, a dynamic young Palestinian woman who has been married for five
 years and lives in Beirut. Lara is also a member of the production team,
 and serves as a bridge between her fellow travelers and the crew. Traveling
 by RV across the U.S. in the summer of 2006, the cast and members of the
 production crew stopped for several days at points of interest including
 New York City, Chicago, the Mississippi Delta, Los Angeles and Big Sur.
 
     The schedule for "On the Road in America" is as follows:
 
     Wednesday, June 4th
 
     Episode 1: Washington, D.C. -- Directed by Jerome Gary. As the "On the
 Road" production team prepares to begin shooting in July 2006, war breaks
 out between Israel and Hezbollah, with Southern Lebanon as a primary
 battleground. Mohamed arrives from Lebanon with just the clothes on his
 back; he is followed by Ali and Sanad. The three young men take part in a
 conference held by the bipartisan research organization CSIS (Center for
 Strategic and International Studies). Lara is successfully re-routed out of
 Beirut and arrives in Washington, ready to begin work as both cast and crew
 member. The four young Arabs get an introduction to America's democratic
 process when they join the volunteer ranks of Washington's mayoral
 candidates.
 
     Wednesday, June 11th
 
     Episode 2: New York -- Directed by Jerome Gary. As their RV takes them
 from Washington to New York, the cast members are preoccupied by the grim
 news out of Lebanon, where war between Israel and Hezbollah rages on. In
 Manhattan, the cast surveys life in the capital of capitalism, an odyssey
 that takes them from the shopping sanctums of Fifth Avenue, to the warrens
 of Wall Street, to the basketball courts of Harlem. Then it's on to the
 Hamptons, where New Line Cinema founder Bob Shaye hosts a classic summer
 lobster boil amidst much discussion of Middle East conflict and American
 involvement. Lara reconsiders her opinions about Israelis as she spends
 more time with the series' Israeli director of photography, Guy Livneh.
 
     Wednesday, June 18th
 
     Episode 3: Chicago -- Directed by Aaron Fishman. Fishman, a Chicago
 native, sets out to show Ali, Sanad, Mohamed and Lara his hometown's
 "trifecta": food, sports and culture. The quartet is split into groups of
 two to explore Chicago's North and South Sides, communities that offer very
 different iterations of the city's signature pleasures. The travelers
 interact with an array of locals as they recruit players for the North
 Side/South Side softball game that will conclude their five-day visit.
 Tensions grow between some of the cast members and the production team, and
 Lara steps in to mediate.
 
     Wednesday, June 25th
 
     Episode 4: Mississippi Delta -- Directed by Mary Lambert. The cast sees
 another side of America when they travel to the rural South. In
 Clarkesdale, Mississippi, Jerdi Lambert's farm offers a glimpse of a more
 prosperous era, while the decaying buildings of the city's business
 district tell a different story. The cast gets a first-hand introduction to
 blues and gospel at the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, and take
 in Sunday services at a Black church. The visit wraps up with an
 old-fashioned fish fry and a jam session with local blues legend Super
 Chikan.
 
     Wednesday, July 2nd
 
     Episode 5: Montana -- Directed by Jerome Gary. A rugged pack trip into
 Yellowstone country elicits different levels of enthusiasm among the three
 cast members camped out under the stars. Meanwhile, their fellow voyager is
 treated to a stay at a modern dude ranch. The group is introduced to two
 respected Western experts, writer/anthropologist Larry Lahren and
 author/grizzly bear expert Doug Peacock. A dip into the thermal pool at
 Chico Hot Springs provides an opportunity to relax and make new friends.
 
     Wednesday, July 9th
 
     Episode 6: Los Angeles Part 1 -- Directed by Danny Bilson. Ali, Sanad,
 Mohamed and Lara get a multi-dimensional look at celebrity culture during
 their visit to Los Angeles. The itinerary includes tours of the Chinese
 Theatre and Universal Studios, as well as a visit to swag-rich enclave
 catering to the needs of Emmy Award nominees. The cast attends a special
 performance at the Laugh Factory comedy club, which is followed by a
 freewheeling discussion with the night's performers.
 
     Wednesday, July 16th
 
     Episode 7: Los Angeles Part 2 -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The second
 leg of their Los Angeles sojourn offers the cast a look at the city's
 charms and contradictions, as they travel from beach to barrio. Visiting
 one of the city's major mosques, they meet with the public relations
 director and discuss the realities of life in the U.S. after 9/11. The
 city's culture of self-improvement can be seen in multiple venues, from
 yoga classes on the West Side to the "gang rehab" services offered by the
 nonprofit organization Homeboy Industries in downtown L.A.
 
     Wednesday, July 23rd
 
     Episode 8: Big Sur Part 1 -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The cast and crew
 drive north on California's winding Highway 1 to Big Sur and their next
 destination: the Esalen Institute, a haven for alternative ideas since the
 1960s. After meeting Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, the cast takes part
 in an open forum about Middle East-U.S. relations. Ali and Mohamed let down
 their emotional guards during a group discussion moderated by
 author/teacher Byron Katie.
 
     Wednesday, July 30th
 
     Episode 9: Big Sur Part 2 -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The Esalen
 conference on Middle East-U.S. relations continues, with contributions from
 Congressman Sam Farr as well as members of the Big Sur community. The
 political gives way to the personal, as Ali, Lara and Mohamed discuss their
 experiences together in a relaxed group forum. The American leg of the
 production wraps up, and the remaining cast and crew gather at the Bay Area
 home of series creator Jerome Gary for a farewell dinner.
 
     Wednesday, August 6th
 
     Episode 10: Cairo -- Directed by Jerome Gary. Several members of the
 "On the Road" production team travel to the Middle East to visit the
 erstwhile travelers in their home countries. In Egypt, Ali introduces Lara
 and his new American friends to his family and shows off his hometown,
 Cairo. Ali's family and friends discuss their perceptions of how he has
 changed since returning from the U.S. The group enjoys Ramadan
 celebrations, a tour of the pyramids and a sailing trip on the Nile.
 
     Wednesday, August 13th
 
     Episode 11: Dubai and Beirut -- Directed by Jerome Gary. Sanad shows
 the Americans around Dubai, where modernity co-exists with tradition and a
 tourist itinerary includes skiing and dune buggy excursions. On the campus
 of the American University in Dubai, Sanad and his friends discuss his
 travels in the U.S. and the larger topic of American hegemony. The Middle
 East tour concludes in Beirut with visits to Lara and Mohamed. We meet
 Lara's mother and her husband, an interior decorator who is designing their
 new home. Mohamed takes the Americans inside the medical clinic he helped
 establish in one of the city's oldest refugee camps. A hot-air balloon trip
 offers a bird's-eye view of the damage wreaked by the recent war between
 Israel and Hezbollah.
 
     Wednesday, August 20th
 
     Episode 12: Indiana and Wisconsin/Pilot -- Directed by Jerome Gary. The
 pilot episode of the series shows how "On the Road in America" began. Ali
 and his fellow cast members, Imad Ghalayini and Mohammed Bachouti, travel
 to the heart of the Midwest to experience America in time-honored fashion:
 the road trip. Their route takes them to a major city, Indianapolis, as
 well as the quaint small town of Madeline Island, Wisconsin.
 
     Sundance Channel
 
     Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the
 television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something
 different. Bold, uncompromising and irreverent, Sundance Channel offers
 audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries, and
 original programs, all unedited and commercial free. Launched in 1996,
 Sundance Channel is a venture of NBC Universal, CBS, and Robert Redford.
 Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance
 Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance
 mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel's
 website address is www.sundancechannel.com.
 
     Layalina Productions
 
     Layalina Productions, Inc. is a non-profit corporation based in
 Washington, D.C. Layalina was founded in March 2002 by its Chairman,
 Richard Fairbanks, the former chief U.S. negotiator for the Middle East
 Peace Process, to produce thoughtful Arabic and English language television
 programming. The corporation's Board of Counselors comprises former
 diplomats and officials, broadcasters, and private sector executives from
 the United States. Layalina's educational, debate, entertainment, and
 children's shows aim to strengthen existing bridges of mutual understanding
 between the U.S. and the Arab world and build new ones. Layalina's
 President, Marc Ginsberg, is a former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco.
 Layalina's Honorary Chairman is former President George H.W. Bush. To learn
 more about Layalina, visit www.layalina.tv.
 
     Visionaire Media
 
     Visionaire Media is a Los Angeles based production company that
 specializes in reality based films and programming with redeeming values.
 Visionaire also operates an international consultancy and training division
 that specializes in media, storytelling, scenario planning and digital
 production. Currently in production are a series on Muslim Women, Life
 After Death - the journey of Carie Lemack (feature documentary), and Esalen
 (feature documentary). American Caravan, a 13 part series about young
 Americans on the road in the Middle East, is in preproduction in
 association with Layalina Productions. Visionaire Media is headed by
 Academy Award nominated producer Jerome Gary. For more, go to
 www.Visionairemedia.com.
 
 
 SOURCE Sundance Channel