January 26, 2012
2012 PEACE ON EARTH FILM FESTIVAL EXPLORES THEMES OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE IN A COLLECTION OF SHORT AND FEATURE FILMS
Free festival aims to be catalyst for change, at the Chicago Cultural Center, February 23 – 26
(January 26, 2012) – The 2012 Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF), along with the Board of Directors of Transcendence Global Media, nfp, will showcase a captivating exploration of film in the areas of nonviolence, tolerance and social justice at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 East Washington, Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, February 26. All screenings are free and open to the public.
Hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (D-CASE), POEFF has been an annual event since 2008 presenting filmmakers’ challenging perspectives on issues such as human rights, neighborhood violence, food deserts, domestic violence, bullying, war, world politics, environment, economics, and more. POEFF strives to bring Chicago to the forefront of international efforts for peace and environmental recoveries, while bringing together filmmakers, academics, and social activists in discussion panels and educational components. Again this year, the festival will host over 600 students and their teachers for the Student Voices for Peace Showcases, stimulating dialogue on nonviolent solutions and practices. The 37 films being screened were chosen from a field of 150 international films addressing similar topics.
This year, POEFF is partnering with Chicago’s Free Spirit Media (FSM), an organization that provides education, access, and opportunity in media production to underserved urban youth. As part of the partnership, POEFF is featuring a special presentation of the FSM-produced short feature, Sounds of Freedom, for Opening Night of the festival.
“The Peace on Earth Film Festival was designed to showcase insightful, powerful films that focus on the genre of peace, nonviolence, and social justice,” says POEFF Executive Director Nick Angotti. “As the festival continues to grow, we strive to reach new audiences with thoughtful partnerships with organizations such as Free Spirit Media and programs like Students Voices for Peace Showcase.”
Highlights (in chronological order) include:
Opening Night on Thursday, February 23 will kick off with the Midwest Premiere of Lunchtime (Dir. Keo Woolford), a film that explores the burgeoning friendship between a bullied fifth grader and his former kindergarten teacher. Following will be a special presentation of the FSM film, Sounds of Freedom, a topical exploration of what freedom means within diverse cultures and circumstances. Following the screening, the student producers, Program Director, Melissa Bryan and Dimitri Moore, Producer of Special Projects, will hold a Q&A session with the screening’s audience. The evening will close with Feature length, On the Bridge, documentary on the lives of Iraqi war vets, suffering from varying degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Film subject, Vincent L Emanuele, university student and host of “Veterans Unplugged Radio”, and Chicago Police officer, Lisa Zepada are expected to join, Director, Olivier Morel for a Q&A following the screening.
#whilewewatch, a short documentary by filmmaker Kevin Breslin whose film Living for 32 had its Chicago Premiere at POEFF last year, observes activist and occupants, highlighting the power and use of social media and 21st Century technology to capture live action and posting it in real time on the internet for all to see. The film will screen as a Special Showing on Friday evening, February 24. Q&A with Tim Pool, OWS Media Activist: Live Streaming on the Net.
• Director Seb Edwards tells the story of a teenager struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother on the one-year anniversary of the tragic event in FRIDAY on Friday, February 24.
• Afrin Eghbal’s animated documentary, Abuelas, uses real-life testimonials to explore the traumatic ramifications of General Videla’s military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976-83, during which an estimated 30,000 men, women and children, disappeared. The film will screen on Saturday afternoon, February 25.
• Admissions (Dir. Harry Kakatsakis) is a portrait of a wise clerk, played by James Cromwell, who works in the Admissions Room for the afterlife. Cromwell encounters an Israeli couple as they search for the wisdom to find everlasting peace after death. The Midwest Premier of the film will screen on Saturday, February 25.
• “No Greater Pain” (Dir. Desiree Holm) tells the story of mothers coming to terms with the grief of losing a child to violence of the streets of Philadelphia. The documentary explores how one mother, Dorothy Johnson-Speight, summons the courage to build a community of women to overcome this feeling of desolation.
• The Midwest Premier of INSPIRED: THE VOICES AGAINST PROP 8 will premier Saturday evening, February 25. The film goes behind the headlines and propaganda to explore the real people who make up a movement. With arresting footage, director Charlie Gage follows people from all walks of life as they await the California Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Prop 8. Filmmaker Charlie Gage Q&A with audience.
• The Chicago Premier of John Lavin s documentary, Hollywood to Dollywood, will premier Saturday evening, February 25. The film follows the journey of twin brothers Gary and Larry Lane from Dolly Parton’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Pigeon Forge, TN as they chase their dream to meet their idol.
• Gesucht wird der arabische (Dir. Bill Cran) follows Robert Satloff, head of the renowned Washington Institute for Near East Policy, on his quest to find an equivalent of Oskar Schindler among the Arab community. Satloff’s hope is to find an Arab who risked their life to save Jews during World War II in order to change the ill-conceived and ignorant perception of the Holocaust. The film will screen Sunday morning, February 26.
• Produced in collaboration with the Quebec Association in Suicide Prevention, Un Fils (A Son) tells the story of a psychologist, Sebastien Huberdeau, who pushes a young boy to tell why he wanted to end his life. The Midwest Premier of Director Andre Gaumond’s short narrative will screen on Sunday afternoon, February 26.
• Mato Oput is a moving documentary filmed in Uganda by participants of the Backback Journalism trip in the summer of 2011. Its subjects, including Ugandans displaced from their homes and children forced into combat, describe the horrifying effects of a civil war that lasted over 20 years. The film will screen Sunday afternoon, February 26.
• Director Sara Terry, who draws the title of her film, Fambul Tok, from an ancient cultural practice translated as “family talk,” will screen the film on Sunday, February 26. The short documentary explores the depths of redemption and healing through the victims and offenders of Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war as they come together for the first time to address the horrors of the conflict.