Abramorama will premiere award-winning filmmaker and Santa Barbara resident Laura Bialis’ (Refusenik) new documentary Rock in the Red Zone in Santa Barbara on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at The Marjorie Luke Theater, as part of the film’s nationwide release.

Rock in the Red Zone is a tale of music and romance on the front lines of a never-ending war.

The film recently opened with great reviews in Israel; called “one of the best Israeli Docs…ever” by David Brinn from the Jerusalem Post and “A Must See” by Maariv.

It opened in theaters in November in New York and Los Angeles, also garnering rave reviews.

Bialis, a graduate of San Marcos High School, says she is thrilled to show the film in her hometown of Santa Barbara. Two of Bialis’ other films featured residents of Santa Barbara — including the award-winning Tak For Alt about Judy Meisel — and she says the city holds significant influence for her.  

Abramorama President Richard Abramowitz states, “Laura Bialis’ film, ‘Rock in the Red Zone,’ is a music story that turns into a war story that turns into a love story. It’s a brave and timely work that will resonate across boundaries and borders around the world.”

“There is this idea that good music comes from hard places, and I wanted to see what that looked like — the process of creation in a conflict zone,” declares Laura Bialis. “I wanted to get inside the experience of musicians that need this expression to survive.

“That search led me to the amazing people of Sderot, an untold story, and the film that would end up changing my life. “

On the edge of Israel’s Negev Desert lies Sderot, a city of factory workers and rock musicians – the children of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.

Despite being pummeled for years by homemade rockets, the people of Sderot persevere.

In raucous Moroccan celebrations, they embrace newcomers. In quiet family dinners, they voice their dreams. And in the underground bomb shelters, they create music – a unique Sderot sound that has transformed Israeli music by injecting Middle Eastern influences into Western Rock.

Into this intense cauldron of art, sand and bloodshed comes an American woman with a camera. Searching for a story about music, filmmaker Laura Bialis encounters a creative community that captivates her to love and changes the course of her life.

The film features the people and the musicians of Sderot, including Avi Vaknin, Robby Elmaliah, Hagit Yaso (who won the Kohav Nolad TV competition, a show based on the British Pop Idol) and Micha Biton, as well as the music of Kobi Oz & The Teapacks, Knesiyat Hasechel, Sfatayim, Micha Biton and Avi Vaknin. 

Director Laura Bialis’ previous films include Refusenik, View from the Bridge: Stories from Kosovo, and Tak for Alt: Survival of a Human Spirit. Bialis produced the film, with co-producers Elana Horwich, Korelan Matteson and Ravit Markus.    

There will be a Q&A with Bialis following the film as well as a musical performance by Avi Vaknin, who appears in the film. 

Tickets are $12 and are available by contacting 800.838.3006 or online at rockredzonesb.brownpapertickets.com.