WASHINGTON -- May 9 -- Nearly 300 disadvantaged children have been invited to attend the Washington, D.C., charity premiere of the eagerly anticipated "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," a major movie event benefiting the Children's Defense Fund. The final episode of the six-part Star Wars saga will be screened at the Loews Cineplex Uptown Theatre on May 12seven days before its worldwide release.
"The children we work with are very excited to see the new 'Star Wars' movie before it's even released," said Barbara Moore of Good Shepherd Ministries, a social services agency for homeless and disadvantaged families. "And we are pleased that these children will get a chance to learn more about the Children's Defense Fund, which does so much on their behalf."
BB Otero, executive director of CentroNia, an educational center for children and families in the District of Columbia, said the children in her program are excited about getting the first look at a movie that has generated phenomenal fan interest around the world. "Our kids are looking forward to participating in an activity together outside of our center," she said. "This is like a field trip to a galaxy far, far away."
"Star Wars" creator George Lucas has a tradition of arranging charity premieres to raise critical funds and awareness for issues affecting children and families. On the same night that the movie is shown in Northwest Washington to benefit CDF, nine other "Star Wars" charity benefit premieres across the nation also will be held to aid other children's health, education and advocacy groups.
"These charitable organizations are the leaders in direct services and advocacy for children and families," said Lucas. "I'm delighted that the screenings can help these amazing organizations, which do such important work."
CDF was launched in 1973 -- the same year Lucas directed his breakthrough film, American Graffiti, and four years before he made Hollywood history with the first "Star Wars" release.
The funds raised at the Washington, D.C., event will go toward advocacy, research and education, with emphasis on the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF fights to ensure that all children will one day have health care, Head Start and a quality education, and to give their parents access to affordable child care.
"We are honored that Lucasfilm has chosen CDF to benefit from the Washington premiere of this highly anticipated 'Star Wars' movie event," said Marian Wright Edelman, founder and CEO of the Children's Defense Fund. "The work we do on behalf of America's most vulnerable children is serious business, but we are glad our supporters will enjoy a memorable evening of exhilarating storytelling at the premiere. The Force will be with us as we work to truly leave no child behind."
The benefit premiere and a pre-screening VIP reception at the Kennedy-Warren are presented by the Freddie Mac Foundation with major support from Discovery Communications and Cingular Wireless.
Maxine B. Baker, president and CEO of the Freddie Mac Foundation, said she hopes the foundation's sponsorship strengthens CDF. "The Children's Defense Fund ensures even our nation's tiniest voices are heard-especially by adults. At the Freddie Mac Foundation, we too care about the plight of our nation's children and are proud supporters of CDF's work," she said. "By sponsoring the Star Wars premiere, we are helping CDF's voice grow stronger, clearer and more effective so that more children face a brighter future."
The premiere screening will begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 12, at the Loews Cineplex Uptown Theatre, 3426 Connecticut Ave. NW. The theatre is located one block south of the Cleveland Park station on the Metro Red Line. General admission tickets are available for $250, VIP tickets are $500, and corporate sponsorship packages are available. To purchase tickets, call 202-662-3514.
The Children's Defense Fund's Leave No Child Behind(r) mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.