Multimedia "Portraits of America" to be Featured in International
Arrivals Areas, U.S. Embassies and Other Venues to Welcome Visitors to the
WASHINGTON, October 22 /CNW/ - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
and the U.S. Department of State in partnership with Walt Disney Parks and
Resorts premiered "Welcome: Portraits of America," a multi-media initiative to
welcome international visitors to the United States. The donation from Disney
included a seven-minute film and hundreds of still images, featuring American
people from all regions and walks of life. Disney commissioned the project as
part of the Rice-Chertoff Initiative, which seeks to secure America's borders
while welcoming legitimate visitors to the United States.
"We greatly appreciate Disney's significant contributions to our efforts
to make America's embassies and airports more welcoming to our international
guests. Disney's creativity and excellence wonderfully capture the essence of
America, which is embodied in the diversity and values of our people," said
Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs,
Department of State.
"Travelers form their first impressions of America when they arrive at
our borders. Our global reputation therefore depends on making visitors feel
every bit as welcome as they feel secure," said Stewart Baker, Assistant
Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security.
"We are proud to partner with the U.S. government to extend a world class
welcome to America's guests," said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks
and Resorts. "This project showcases America's greatest asset: the ordinary
people who make this nation extraordinary."
The film and still portraits showcase the diversity, friendliness and
optimism of the American people. The film will be shown in the Federal
Inspection Areas of U.S. airports, and in U.S. embassies and consulates
overseas, while the still portraits will be incorporated in posters, banners
and other imagery welcoming visitors to the U.S. The video and images will not
feature or promote any commercial entities. The first airports to feature the
images will be Washington Dulles International Airport and Bush
Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, to be followed by the nation's
other international airports.
For the project, Disney attracted a world-class creative team including
producer Federico Tio, a highly-regarded marketer of some of America's
best-known motion pictures. Born in Havana, Cuba on May 1, 1962, Tio came to
the United States on one of the first "Freedom Flights" in 1965. Tio's crew
embarked on a cross-country odyssey to capture the content for the video,
including images of ordinary Americans at work, play, with family and at
moments of introspection.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Homeland Security
Michael Chertoff announced a joint vision to enhance border security while
streamlining security processes and facilitating travel for legitimate
visitors in January 2006. As part of this initiative, the Secure Borders, Open
Doors Advisory Committee was established with participation from the business,
travel and tourism and academic communities. One of the goals of the Advisory
Committee is to help the Departments of State and Homeland Security establish
a friendlier, more welcoming process for visitors from the time they apply for
a visa to their entry into the United States.
To view the film, visit discoveramerica.com or travel.state.gov. (Note to
Editors: The entire film will not be available for viewing until 6 p.m. EDT on
October 22, 2007.)
For further information:
For further information: Department of State contact: Public Affairs,
202-647-2492 or Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection:
Lynn Hollinger, 202-344-1780 or Walt Disney Parks and Resorts 818-560-7375