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BoomGen’s debut television series Of Kings and Prophets, executive produced by BoomGen cofounders Reza Aslan and Mahyad Tousi premieres on ABC on Tuesday, March 8 at 10pm.
For the last eight years we have had the privilege to work with you (members of media and civil society) on incredible projects such as The Square, Rosewater, All-American Muslim, and Trials of Spring, to name just a few. Now we are incredibly proud to announce our first original project developed and produced at BoomGen Studios—the first of many to come.
Back in 2006, Aslan and Tousi started BoomGen Studios with the intention of bringing the wealth of untapped stories from and about the Greater Middle East to the world, and to showcase the region’s talented artists in doing so. Our mission was simple: leverage the power of storytelling to bring people together and to heal the divides that plague us all.
“Stories are how we break down the walls that separate us into different nationalities or ethnicities or races or cultures or religions,” says Reza Aslan, “and television is a particularly powerful medium to deliver stories.”
A dramatic retelling of the central story of the Hebrew Bible, Of Kings and Prophets chronicles the story of King David from shepherd to king. “David is one of the rare religious figures revered by all three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” says Mahyad Tousi, “He is the central figure in the Hebrew Bible, considered to have a direct lineage to Jesus Christ, and celebrated as a prophet of God and a king of Israel in Islam.”
Although David may have lived 3000 years ago, he remains one of the most contemporary figures in any mythology, religious or otherwise. This is the reason Aslan and Tousi were attracted to this story back in 2011. “David is one of the most complicated and fascinating heroes in Middle Eastern mythologies— scriptural or otherwise,” says Mahyad Tousi, “his story is incredibly relevant to who we are today, in ways that make it almost hard to believe it’s in scripture from thousands of years ago. Frankly, we didn’t know Of Kings and Prophets would go first, but in hindsight it’s the perfect debut.”
One of the biggest conversations around Hollywood in the last year has been its failure to accurately present the nation and the world, both behind and in front of the camera. Of Kings and Prophets stands in contrast to this trend with both Aslan and Tousi serving as Executive Producers of the show. “We had the opportunity to work closely on casting and are extremely proud of our diverse cast of series regulars, which include two Arabs — one Palestinian and one Lebanese. A New Zealander Maori. A Cuban. And multiple mixed race actors of African, Indian, and Chinese origins,” says Reza Aslan.
Tune in on March 8 to check out the premiere episode of our debut TV series Of Kings and Prophets.
REZA ASLAN is an internationally renowned writer and scholar of religions whose books (including his #1 New York Times Bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth) have been translated into dozens of languages all over the world. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Middle East. Aslan is the Executive Producer of the ABC series Of Kings and Prophets, BoomGen Studios’ Television debut.
Aslan serves as Consulting Producer for HBO’s “The Leftovers,” and is the host and Executive Producer of CNN’s newest original series “Believer.” His talk show Rough Draft with Reza Aslan, which features lively conversations with the best authors, poets, screenwriters, show runners, and journalists, premiers on the Ovation channel on February 28, 2016.
Aslan’s degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University (Major focus: New Testament; Minor: Greek) , a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University (Major focus: History of Religions), a PhD in the Sociology of Religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, author and entrepreneur, Jessica Jackley and their three sons.
MAHYAD TOUSI is a writer, creative producer, and media strategist working across story formats, genres, and platforms. His work includes narrative and documentary features, interactive art and media, serialized television, as well as Indie and blockbuster motion pictures. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of BoomGen Studios, the premier incubator and entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Middle East—the cradle of storytelling. Tousi is the Executive Producer of the ABC series Of Kings and Prophets, BoomGen Studios’ television debut.
After several years of working in conflict zones as a cinematographer, and on award-winning documentaries such as “Blindsight,” “Wasteland,” and “Some Assembly Required,” Tousi produced micro-budget features “Marvelous” with Oscar®-nominated Michael Shannon and Amy Ryan, and “Looking for Palladin” with the late acting legend Ben Gazzara and Oscar®-nominated Talia Shire. Tousi has consulted on Disney’s “Prince of Persia,” Julian Schnabel’s “Miral,” TLC’s “All American Muslim,” Netflix’s Oscar®-nominated documentary “The Square,” Disney’s “Aladdin on Broadway,” Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater,” Relativity’s “Desert Dancer,” Open Road’s “Rock the Kasbah,” and Gini Reticker and Abby Disney’s “Trials of Spring.”
Tousi speaks internationally on cross-platform storytelling, and the designed convergence of mass-entertainment, interactive media, and social impact. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
BOOMGEN STUDIOS is a next generation entertainment studio & audience engagement outfit focused entirely on content by or about the Greater Middle East—the cradle of storytelling.
OF KINGS AND PROPHETS is an epic biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of the battle-weary King Saul, the resentful prophet Samuel and the resourceful young shepherd David – all on a collision course with destiny that will change the world.
Twitter Hashtag: #OfKingsAndProphets
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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