New Award Challenges Artists to Enlighten the Public

WASHINGTON, DC – The Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) honored filmmaker Tom Hayes on Saturday, January 25th by establishing an annual award in his name. The Tom Hayes Award for Outstanding Contribution recognizes artistic efforts that increase awareness about the relationship between the United States and the Middle East.
This award will be presented annually and will honor an individual whose creative work expands public understanding of the human issues in the Middle East. In addition to being of relevant and timely subject matter, submissions should address the crucial issue of distribution. “Perhaps more important than creating a great work is successfully disseminating it to the public,” said ADC Chairman Dr. Safa Rifka. “This is often a difficult, arduous, and expensive task. Therefore, ADC challenges artists to fully express their creativity by overcoming obstacles in the process of distributing their work” added Dr Rifka.
ADC presented the inaugural award to filmmaker Tom Hayes at a sold out screening of his documentary “People and the Land” at Visions Cinema, located in downtown Washington, DC. “People and the Land,” funded several years ago by PBS, evaluates the role U.S. tax dollars play in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When “People and the Land” was originally released in 1997, it quickly received several awards. However, the challenges of distribution arose immediately when American supporters of Israel publicly attacked the film, the Director, and his family. They demanded that PBS not air the documentary to the very same American public whose billions of tax dollars are funneled to Israel each year. Succumbing to this pressure, PBS only broadcast the documentary on merely 7% of its stations nationwide.
This award was created in response to the overwhelming challenges Mr. Hayes faced not only filming the documentary “People and the Land” but also the hurdles he encountered during the actual distribution process.
Prior to making this film, Mr. Hayes directed “Native Sons: Palestinians in Exile” which was narrated by actor Martin Sheen. In addition, he received a regional Emmy award for directing the documentary “Refugee Road.”
To find out more about eligibility criteria for the award and how to apply, visit This award is open to all forms of media, including but not limited to: writing, music, film, art, and website design.
To submit an entry to, you must:
1) Include a brief statement about how the work expands public understanding of the Middle East and how the work will be circulated to the broadest possible audience.
2) A resume
The deadline for all applications is May 1, 2003.

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