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A second casting call for The Last Airbender will be held on February 7th in Philadelphia, from 10AM to 4PM at the Independence Hall Visitor Center. If you're a supporter in that area and wish to peacefully protest Paramount Pictures' whitewashing of "The Last Airbender," this post contains all the information we have.

The precise address they give is:

Independence Hall Visitor Center
"Independence Ball Room"
6th & Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Specific transportation advice and information can be found here, with thanks to drmoonpants. You can read the flier in its entirety here.

Because of the incredibly short notice only a few supporters were able to make it to the last casting call, but they had a GREAT day and were kind enough to share their story with us. You can read it here, complete with an excellent photo -- we can't stress enough how proud of them we are!

Two brave protesters lead to a series of newspaper articles and a flurry of discussion online, helping to shine the spotlight on what Paramount is doing and raise awareness of the larger issue of whitewashing in Hollywood. Imagine what ten could do. Or twenty. Or more!

If you're on Facebook and want to help, you can go here sign up for this event and coordinate with other people who plan to attend! Carpools are being arranged for those who don't live in the city.

If you prefer to coordinate via the comments on this entry, drmoonpants has volunteered to help organize and has posted all the details here -- please reply there if you plan to attend or have and questions!

Reposted from the previous entry, because it bears repeating:

If you can make it to the casting call in person, we would love for you to
• Ask polite but firm questions of the casting people about why they chose white actors to play Asian and Inuit characters and report back here with what they say
• Ask why no formal statement has been made by Paramount Pictures or Blinding Edge Pictures (Shyamalan's production company) about the casting controversy and, again, let us know what they say
• Take photos and notes about what you see and hear and share them with us in the comments
• Peacefully and respectfully protest the casting decisions, and tell the local media that you plan to do so. If you want to organize a protest, relevant information regarding applying for permits and such can be found here. And again, there is a Facebook event for those who prefer to coordinate that way.

You should not, under any circumstances
• Spam their voicemail or email with messages
• Harass or insult the casting people in any way or interfere with their ability to do their jobs
• Protest the casting in a manner that is not completely peaceful, polite and respectful
• Confront or disrespect anyone else who shows up to the casting call
• Behave in a manner that would cast a bad light on this movement as a whole

Another Update On Addresses

As you know, we've been given a lot of different information about who the correct person at Paramount is to send letters to, and now we've been tipped off by several kind commenters to the fact that Mark Bakshi was actually replaced this fall. We have no idea why, when we called Paramount in late December, we were told he was still president of features production and given an address we should use for him -- we realize things change quickly in Hollywood, and called to confirm for EXACTLY this reason.

After calling Paramount's offices again and getting yet another address -- one without the specific routing information we were previously told was essential -- we're starting to feel that the studio is giving us the run around.

Don't worry about letters that have already been sent -- we think they're the reason we now can't get a straight answer. Instead, just concentrate on sending letters to the Kennedy/Marshall address, which can be found here.

Also, please keep sending letters and emails to media outlets! Putting in links to some of the essays in the links list can be very helpful, especially those links that are other media outlets, as few things drive a story faster than other reporters being on the story as well.

Again, let us know if you are getting any of the letters returned, and keep writing!

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Quoted from The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Be in an M. Night movie
Director-writer-producer M. Night Shyamalan is casting for The Last Airbender, a live-action film from Paramount and Nickelodeon based on the Nickelodeon animated series, shooting here from mid-March through July. (It's set in a world where human civilization is divided into four nations: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. The film's hero, the reluctant young Aang, is the Last Airbender. Aided by a protective teenage Waterbender named Katara and her bullheaded brother, Sokka, Aang proceeds on a perilous journey to restore balance to their war-torn world. Standard stuff.)

The O.C.'s Jackson Rathbone has been named as Sokka. Casting folks are looking for extras to play soldiers, martial artists, dancers, gymnasts, athletes and families - specifically physically fit people from 18 to 65 years old. The open call will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Bullies restaurant at the Wachovia Spectrum. You're asked to dress casually or in the traditional costume of your family's ethnic background. Info: lastairbendercasting@gmail.com or 215-574-7878.


We've called the number provided and this seems to be completely legit. Several people have commented suggesting that those protesting the casting decision should have a presence there, and we're inclined to agree. However, it's very important that we all conduct ourselves politely, peacefully and responsibly.

If you can make it to the casting call in person, we would love for you to
• Ask polite but firm questions of the casting people about why they chose white actors to play Asian and Inuit characters and report back here with what they say
• Ask why no formal statement has been made by Paramount Pictures or Blinding Edge Pictures (Shyamalan's production company) about the casting controversy and, again, let us know what they say
• Take photos and notes about what you see and hear and share them with us in the comments
• Peacefully and respectfully protest the casting decisions, and tell the local media that you plan to do so. If you want to organize a protest, relevant information regarding applying for permits and such can be found here.

EDIT: drmoonpants is trying to put together a list of those who plan to attend. Please reply to this comment if you think you'll be able to make it so that we can get a headcount.

You should not, under any circumstances
• Spam their voicemail or email with messages
• Harass or insult the casting people in any way or interfere with their ability to do their jobs
• Protest the casting in a manner that is not completely peaceful, polite and respectful
• Confront or disrespect anyone else who shows up to the casting call
• Behave in a manner that would cast a bad light on this movement as a whole

If you cannot make it to the casting call in person, we encourage you to send short, polite messages to the email address above (or leave equally short, polite voicemails) briefly explaining your objections to their casting decisions and asking if and when Blinding Edge Pictures plans to make a statement regarding this controversy.

Round Two: FIGHT!

Hope you all had a great holiday! As for us, we're back from our hiatus with news, more addresses, and some things to keep in mind.

Here's what's going on right now:

• We've changed our strategy a bit. We'll be writing to TWO different addresses -- the film's two producers, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, at their production company; and Mark Bakshi, the president of features production at Paramount Pictures. We've updated the main information post to reflect this, so you can head over there to get started on your letter.

The mainstream media is starting to take notice, which is very good news. The outcry over The Last Airbender's casting was the subject of an article in the January 9th issue of Entertainment Weekly, which you can read in its entirety here. Media coverage of this issue is extremely helpful and important -- the more attention that gets drawn to Paramount's casting decision, the harder it is for them to pretend there isn't a problem.

We've updated the main information post regarding how to help us get the media's attention, so head over and take a look if you want to get involved!

Paramount knows we're angry. In the Entertainment Weekly article, Nicole Sperling writes, "Paramount declined to comment, other than to say that casting isn't complete." This, too, could be very good news. Saying "casting isn't complete" can mean a lot of things, but among them could be that none of the actors announced so far are set in stone. This makes taking action now more important than ever -- there may still be time to fix this mess. Help us give Paramount a reason to change their minds!

That said, here's a few things to think about as we forge ahead into the new year:

• Talking about this issue online, writing essays or even mentioning it in passing on your journal or blog is not a waste of time. Anything you do to keep the conversation going and spread awareness of this issue is a help. All we ask is that you try to stay positive and proactive, as much as we know that's often difficult.

• People may tell you you're wasting your time. People may say that you're a whiner, that you should get over it, that you're taking this too seriously. Those people are wrong.

Racism is still a big problem, in America and elsewhere, that affects real people every day. Movies like this one help shape people's attitudes of what's normal and acceptable, particularly the kids and young teenagers who are its target audience. Hollywood has a long history of marginalizing minority actors and whitewashing properties like Avatar -- they'll only stop if we speak up and tell them that it's not okay, and that we won't stand for it.

Please keep in mind that the purpose of this journal is to share information and provide a safe space for people to speak out against Paramount's casting policy. We're not interested in hosting or moderating debates on the topic -- there are plenty of other forums for that.

Tags:

Holiday Hiatus

It is possible that Paramount Pictures is marking letters "return to sender" and mailing them back unopened. It's too early to be sure, so we're asking everyone to hold off on mailing further letters to Paramount until January 5th. Their offices will likely be closed until then, and it will give us time to gather more information.

EDIT: We're using new addresses! Please see this post for more information!

Tags:

We'll let the show speak for itself.

Many people have been telling us we shouldn't be offended. And of all the arguments we've been presented with this past week, the most common is also the most surprising: "These characters look white to me."

We considered writing an essay about the ethnic makeup of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but then we realized we could never be as eloquent on this topic as the show itself was.

For those of you who're interested in this issue but not familiar with the show, and for those fans who want a reminder of what we're fighting to preserve: an essay in images, spanning the length of the series and ending as the show itself tellingly chose to.



Click here to seeCollapse )

Saving the World With Postage

This entry will be left as it is for the sake of reference. However, we suggest you read more recent entries on this journal, or else go to racebending and Racebending.com, for current news and information regarding this movement.

For those who don't already know: The actors who will play the main four characters of "The Last Airbender," the live action Avatar film, have been announced. And all of them are white.

We love Avatar, and have for a long time. But we're pretty disappointed about this casting decision, and we know we're not alone in that. This post is about what we can do.

What we need to do is send real, paper letters to the Kennedy/Marshall company -- specifically, the film's two produces, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall -- telling them why we're offended by their casting choices and what we want them to do about it.

Below is a guide for how to make your letter as effective as possible and where to send it once you're done.

Please feel free to link this to as many people as possible. The better organized we are and the more people we get to participate, the more likely it is that we'll make a difference in this mess!

And once you're done with your letter, post a photo of yourself holding it in the comments! (Or your action figure/stuffed animal/dog if you're camera shy)

Why This Is Worth DoingCollapse )

How To Write Your Letter and Where To Send ItCollapse )

Tips for Letter WritingCollapse )

Example LetterCollapse )

What To Do Once You've Sent Your LetterCollapse )

As a fandom we don't always get along, but if we can come together and put in a little time to do this one thing, we can really make a difference! We all want this movie to be good -- let's do what we can to help that happen!

EDIT: It's been incredibly heartwarming to see so many non-fans speaking out about this issue and writing letters of their own. If you're unfamiliar with Avatar: The Last Airbender and want a better sense of why fans are so upset and offended by the casting decisions, we've put together a "Visual Essay" -- the show really does speak for itself.

EDIT2: The response so far has been fantastic, and we're SO GRATEFUL to all of you who have written letters so far! However, please keep in mind that we have a long way to go -- a hundred letters is an amazing thing, but it will take many, many more to get the attention of Paramount. Keep writing, keep spreading the word -- every letter is important, and every voice brings us closer to being heard.

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