Category Archives: Syria

Pandamoon Publishing Sells Film Rights to Sleeperwave Films to my Syrian conflict novel: LOOKING INTO THE SUN


 

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Today saw some horrific reporting in the national news media about barrel bombs and Syrian child casualties (deaths) in Aleppo. Unfortunately, this is not news. It has been going on for almost five and a half years in Syria! The appalling lack of awareness for this issue in 2014 drove me to write “Looking Into the Sun” to raise awareness and support for Syrian children.

I am extremely excited and proud to announce that my fabulous publisher, Pandamoon Publishing, recently sold the film rights to my Syrian conflict novel! I am happy for a two reasons, the first of which is that if this story makes it to the big screen, we will be able to maximize awareness for this important issue plaguing our world. Second, I hope a film will help result in donations to help those Syrian children who have been suffering for so long!

Thanks for all those who have read the book and posted reviews for me on Amazon! I truly appreciate the support! Both Pandamoon and I have made a commitment to donate a portion of proceeds to Save the Children’s Syrian Children’s Fund. So, if you haven’t read it, please order a copy and encourage everyone you know to do the same, knowing that you will be helping Syrian children if you do.

Currently, I have turned in a second draft of the screenplay to Sleeperwave Films and am waiting on their further notes. I will keep everyone posted as the film development process moves forward.

Thanks to everyone who has already read the book and spread the word about this important issue. I am excited to continue raising support and awareness, I hope you will help me toward that end as well!

Of course, I must thank Zara Kramer, CEO of Pandamoon Publishing, for recognizing the potential of my passion project and Eric J. Adams, Producer at Sleepwave Films, who also saw the need to give this story to a wider audience. Thank you both for your fantastic support!

I’ve included Pandamoon’s full press release below and will put out a few blog posts in the near future that will explain how we were able to get to this point with this project.

Pandamoon Publishing Press Release:

Austin, TX – 08/31/16 – Pandamoon Publishing is pleased to announce that Sleeperwave Films of San Francisco, California, has purchased the film rights for LOOKING INTO THE SUN, the bestselling novel of the Syrian conflict by Pandamoon author Todd Tavolazzi. Sleeperwave Films intends to produce the film as an independent major motion picture.

“Every day, we see new stories in the headlines about the ongoing tragedies faced by civilian Syrians and their innocent children. LOOKING INTO THE SUN provides an up-close and personal view into what’s really happening in that hot spot from someone who knows. Author Todd Tavolazzi based his novel on his own observations while serving as an operational planner to the U.S. Sixth Fleet. In that capacity, Todd and the rest of his group were particularly interested in developments in Syria since their area of responsibility included the territorial waters of Syria’s Mediterranean coast. During his research, he became appalled at the deteriorating situation in Syria and particularly its effect on Syrian civilians caught up in the violence,” stated Zara Kramer, Publisher of Pandamoon Publishing.

When asked why he wrote LOOKING INTO THE SUN, Todd Tavolazzi said, “Videos of the innocent children who were being shot, starved, gassed, or blown up drove me to write the book. My focus in LOOKING INTO THE SUN was intentionally narrow. I had three simple goals: (1) raise widespread awareness of the sacrifices and risks freelance journalists take to bring us the stories the mass media machine doesn’t seem to have time for, (2) acknowledge the ongoing child suffering in Syria since November 2011 and, most importantly, (3) remind the average person that there are credible and effective ways to help these innocent children.”

“While LOOKING INTO THE SUN has achieved bestseller status, we knew that we needed a broader reach to shed more light on this subject. Taking this story to the big screen gives us the opportunity to get it in front of a much larger audience. We couldn’t be more proud to partner with Eric J. Adams and his team at Sleeperwave Films. An award-winning feature film production company, Sleeperwave Films focuses on films that are socially relevant, our perfect partner to bring this story to life for audiences everywhere,” Kramer added.

“LOOKING INTO THE SUN is that rare story that combines emotional resonance, commercial potential, and the opportunity to spotlight an important issue. With his inside view of the Syrian conflict, Tavolazzi takes us on a heartfelt journey of spellbinding veracity. We look forward to working with Todd to bring his vision to the screen,” said Adams.

All three partners in this endeavor (Pandamoon Publishing, Author Todd Tavolazzi, and Sleeperwave Films) are so committed to helping the Syrian children that all have agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds of this joint venture to Save the Children, the most important organization providing real relief in the area. Together, we strive to provide Syrian children (and all suffering refugee children throughout the world) the tangible, loving care they need and deserve.

Pandamoon Publishing focuses on publishing quality and unique fiction works and distributes them through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Ingram, as well as other book distributors and bookstores worldwide, including Powell’s and Books-A-Million. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Pandamoon Publishing is dedicated to growing good ideas into great reads…one book at a time. Review copies of our books are available to journalists and qualified reviewers through our media contact. Learn more at www.pandamoonpublishing.com.

Purchase “Looking Into the Sun” and help us help Syrian kids.

 

 

 

 

 

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Syrian Video that Illustrates the Daily Pain


I watched this video segment yesterday and was overcome with the gravity of the situation still roiling in Syria. Everyone should see this to get a feel for the very real pain that has been heaped on Syrian civilians who only wanted to have their voices be heard.

If you have children – it will hit you immediately…

Warning: This video is slightly graphic

My Interview on the Malliard Report


Check out my interview on the Malliard Report. I discuss why I wrote my Syrian conflict novel and a bit about some strange things (some would say supernatural) that have occurred during my writing process. Enjoy! Remember, a portion of proceeds from my novel are being donated to Save the Children’s Syrian Children’s Fund!

Malliard Report Interview

 

Eye-Opening Syrian Reporting


In the course of my research for Looking Into the Sun I came across the following video series by Robert King, a freelance photojournalist, who smuggled himself into Syria to bring out the horrible truth of what was going on in Syria for Vice News. The images moved me to act and write my novel to help garner as much support as possible for those who are truly trying to help the innocents in Syria. However, I must warn you, they are very graphic, but exactly what everyone should see if they want to really understand what is going on behind the headlines.

Why I Wrote a Novel on the Syrian Conflict


I wrote Looking into the Sun in my off time while I was assigned as an operational planner to the U.S. Sixth Fleet staff in Naples, Italy, from April to August 2014. When I arrived at my new assignment, in September 2011, the Arab Spring was well underway. Syrian protestors had joined Tunisian, Libyan, and Egyptian protestors in voicing their displeasure with their government. The resulting unrest in Syria became a serious concern for the U.S. Central Command, as well as the U.S. European Command and its naval component command, the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

I was one of many operational planners to study the effect the Syrian conflict was having on our European partners. During my research, from unclassified open source material, I was appalled at the deteriorating situation in Syria and particularly its effect on Syrian civilians caught up in the violence. For the most part, there was only mainstream news coverage when chemical weapons were found to have been used in the conflict (which tapered off after only a short time) and when ISIS began to gain ground in northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

In the course of my research, I found that there were many freelance journalists who had smuggled themselves into Syria to bravely report what no one else could, after Bashar Al-Assad closed his borders to foreign correspondents soon after the violence began. The stories by freelance journalists working for Vice News or on their own were astounding. The video proof of the suffering of the average citizen in Syria was heart-wrenching, especially the awful plight of the children. I saw video reports of children that were blown up by the Assad regime in their indiscriminate bombing where helicopters would push barrels packed with explosives out of their cargo bays on neighborhoods suspected to be rebel strongholds. There were also video reports of starving families who could not be resupplied because the regime had cut off all services to their neighborhoods in a cruel play to starve out their own people who they perceived were harboring rebel groups.

The videos of the innocent children who were being shot, starved, gassed, or blown up drove me to write Looking into the Sun. I knew there was not much I could do in my position as a U.S. military officer to effect any real change,so I decided to compile my research and weave real case studies into a novel. Through that effort, I would attempt to put a coherent face on the horrible situation the world seemed to be ignoring. Only recently, with reports of refugee drownings, their push across Europe, and potential ISIS terrorists hiding amongst the fleeing masses, has the refugee problem been addressed in the mainstream media, despite the fact that the situation had been going on to some extent since the fighting began in November 2011.

My focus in Looking into the Sun was intentionally narrow. I had three simple goals: (1) raise widespread awareness of the sacrifices and risks freelance journalists take to bring us the stories the mass media machine doesn’t seem to have time for, (2) acknowledge the ongoing child suffering in Syria since November 2011 and, most importantly, (3) remind the average reader that there are credible and effective ways to help these innocent children.

My publisher, Zara Kramer at Pandamoon Publishing, and I discussed what we could do to directly help the Syrian children. We mutually decided to each donate a percentage of the profits of the sale of this book to the most important organization providing real relief in the area. I am honored to support the selfless souls at Save the Children as we all work to provide Syrian children (and all suffering children throughout the world) the tangible, loving care they need and deserve. I thank you personally for contributing to this effort by purchasing this book. If you would like to make an additional donation, please visit http://www.savethechildren.org. Remember, every little thing we do makes a difference, but you first MUST ACT. Please help me make a difference today!