In January 2012, the world premiere of Promised Land took place in Ashdod, Israel. We wanted to kick off our tour in Israel as a way to show our love and respect for the Israeli people. The Ashdod Surfing Association rented out a theatre and filled it with surf-stoked Israelis. Among the people in the audience was Ashdod’s mayor, Yehiel Lasri, and many of his staff. Having been given a sneak peek at Promised Land, Mayor Lasri gladly gave the foreword to the film and graciously lent his support of the night.
Up until this night, we had not shown the movie to a large group and only a few outside of California had seen it. We were so nervous, wondering if the Israeli surfers would like it, accept it or even reject it. For us, this was the moment where the rubber would meet the road—the true test of the last three-and-half years of hard work. Would they like it or not?
The audience was captivated throughout the movie, laughing at the funny parts, hooting when Tom Curren surfed, and genuinely enjoying the experience of Promised Land. When the credits rolled, Matisyahu’s song Jerusalem was drowned out by the eruption of applause from the audience. After the movie, I received countless handshakes and Israeli bear hugs and it took all my strength not to break down in tears of joy as I heard people tell me that Promised Land was the biggest blessing to Israel I could have ever offered. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Since that night, Promised Land has been screened to more than 10,000 people in live attendance in Israel, the U.S., Europe and Asia. We have shown the movie in theaters, outdoor venues, churches, town halls and bars. My goal is for many more people to have the opportunity to see Promised Land so they too can be inspired by its story.
From Director/Co-producer Todd Morehead