2014 Peace On Earth Film Festival

Contact: Rob. Walton / Beth Silverman
The Silverman Group

For Immediate Release


Free festival aims to be catalyst for change, at the Chicago Cultural Center, March 6 – 9

(February 5, 2014) – The 2014 Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF), presented by Transcendence Global Media, NFP, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, announces an array of inspiring, touching, infuriating and illuminating films in the areas of nonviolence, tolerance, social justice and environmental recoveries. The sixth annual festival takes place at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 East Washington, Thursday, March 6 through Sunday, March 9. All screenings are free and open to the public.

Thursday’s Opening Night programming, emceed by WBEZ “Worldview” host Jerome McDonnell, focuses on Peace in the Middle East, with two feature films making their Midwest premieres. Palestinian-Israeli feature narrative Under the Same Sun tells the story of two businessmen — one Palestinian and one Israeli — who struggle to set up a solar energy company. Executive producer John Marks will conduct a post-show Q&A.  The documentary Partners for Peace follows a delegation of American and Canadian women on a journey to Israel and Palestine. Director Ed Kucerak and three delegates will be in attendance.

This year’s lineup includes World Premieres of feature documentaries The Ghosts of Jeju and From Spokane With Love, the U.S. Premiere of Britain’s A Step Too Far? the Chicago Premiere of GMO OMG, and a Special Screening of the locally produced narrative feature The Other One, all with the filmmakers in attendance. Notable pieces include two enlightening Fukushima pieces (food feature Tokyo’s Belly and spiritual short Reactor) and 2014 Oscar nominee (and, perhaps, winner) Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall by local filmmaker Edgar Barens, also in attendance.

A Student Filmmaker Showcase kicks off the day on Saturday morning.  A Filmmakers Panel Discussion, moderated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker John D. Hancock (Bang the Drum Slowly, Sticky My Fingers… Fleet My Feet) takes place Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday afternoon, festival director Nick Angotti moderates the annual Peacemakers Panel. Panelists will amplify the thematic content of the 2014 Peace On Earth Film Festival film lineup by offering their expertise and focus. They include Karyn Calabrese, founder of Karyn’s Raw, on GMOs and the food we consume; Arnold Stieber, president of Chicago Veterans for Peace, on militarization of CPS; Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service, on nuclear energy, the Fukushima meltdown and Illinois; and Tribal Leader Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq,featured in BridgeWalker, on indigenous community and traditions. Others will be announced as they are added.

Started in 2008, POEFF has been an annual event shining a light on filmmakers’ challenging perspectives regarding issues such as human rights, neighborhood violence, food deserts, domestic violence, bullying, war, world politics, environment, economics and more. The festival strives to put Chicago at the forefront of international efforts for peace and environmental recoveries, while bringing together filmmakers, academics and social activists in discussion panels and educational components.

Learn more at: www.peaceonearthfilmfestival.org/


This year’s selections include:



BridgeWalkers (Kara Rhodes, Jim Whitney, Suzan Pelfrey, USA, 74 min.)

As our relationship to Earth travels down a dangerous path, it has become clear that we cannot sustain the stress of our modern ways. On a quest to restore balance, Tribal Leaders from around the world gather in Greenland to witness the coming of a 20,000-year-old prophecy. Director, Kara Rhodes and Tribal Leader Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq will be in attendance. Shows Sunday, March 9, 11 a.m.


Der Bauch von Tokyo (Tokyo’s Belly) (Reinhild Dettmer-Finke, Germany, 70 min.) *Midwest Premiere

Tokyo is a city of superlatives. This film is of how it is supplied, at the same time delivering insight into the disaster of Fukushima and its aftermath. This film is about the loss of trust in the technical and political elite and the ‘anger in the belly’ of many Japanese. Shows Sunday, March 9, 2:55 p.m.


The Ghosts of Jeju (Regis Tremblay, USA, 80 min.) *World Premiere

Using previously secret and classified photos, film and documents, this is the first English-language documentary about the struggle of the brave people of Gangjeong Village of Jeju Island, South Korea who are opposing the military advance of the United States, just as their parents and relatives did in 1947. As then, they are being arrested, jailed, fined and hospitalized for resisting the construction of a massive naval base that will accommodate America’s “pivot to Asia” and destroy their 400-year-old village and their UNESCO-protected environment. And yet, the indomitable spirit of the villagers and their supporters, who have not lost hope in spite of overwhelming odds, will inspire and motivate everyone who believes there is a better way to live together on this planet.  Director Regis Tremblay will be in attendance. Shows Saturday, March 8, noon.


GMO OMG (Jeremy Seifert, USA, 90 min.) *Chicago Premiere

GMO OMG director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do Genetically Modified Organisms affect our children, the health of our planet and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back? These and other questions take Seifert on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what’s on your plate? Congressman Dennis Kucinich stars. Shows Saturday, March 8, 8:20 p.m.


Man Up and Go (Randy Bacon, USA, 92 min.)

Roger, adoptive father of an Ethiopian orphan, inspires men to be better husbands and fathers, with his launch of the Man Up movement. With 28 other men, Roger traveled to the depths of Africa to love big on orphans and the least of these. In the end, the men discover their lives were impacted the most. Shows Sunday, March 9, 4:15 p.m.


Partners for Peace (Ed Kucerak, Canada, 101 min.) *Midwest Premiere

Partners for Peace follows a delegation of American and Canadian women on a journey to Israel and Palestine. Their quest is to learn about the decades-long conflict and to reach out in solidarity to women activists striving amidst the turmoil. Confronted by the complex and brutal depth of the conflict, they are inspired by the commitment and sacrifices of the women they meet, and challenged to ask difficult questions of themselves – and of us all. Narrated by Marisa Tomei. Director Ed Kucerak and delegates Jaclyn Friedman, Lauren Embrey and Janaan Hashim will be in attendance.Shows Thursday, March 6, 8:45 p.m.


A Step Too Far? A Contemplation On Forgiveness (Paul Moorehead, UK, 72min.) *U.S. Premiere

Most of us at some time in our lives feel that we have been wronged by others in some way. It may be as a result of malicious gossip or maybe a violent act or even worse. Are we eaten up with the desire for revenge?  A Step Too Far? investigates an alternative to revenge; the idea of forgiveness. From Northern Ireland to the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, ordinary people share their real life stories and how they have come to view forgiveness. Filmmaker Paul Moorehead will be in attendance. Shows Sunday, March 9, 6 p.m.




The Other One (Josef Steiff, USA, 98 min.) *Special Screening

This drama with supernatural influences follows a young woman who has returned to her childhood home to care for her mother now in the throes of dementia and haunted by the death of her young son who drowned mysteriously 30 years prior. Filmed in: Galena and Chicago, Illinois. The directors of the Peace On Earth Film Festival are delighted to present A Special Screening of The Other One. The Other One is not an Official Selection of the 2014 POEFF. Q&A with The Other One director Josef Steiff, producer Elizabeth Theiss and executive producer/actress Grace McPhillips Shows Friday, March 7, 7pm.


Under the Same Sun (Sameh Zoabi, Palestine Territories/Israel/USA, 75 min.) *Midwest Premiere

Set in the near future, Under the Same Sun looks back on how peace was made in 2013 between Israel and Palestine. It is the story of two businessmen — Shaul, an Israeli, and Nizar, a Palestinian —who struggle to set up a solar energy company. Both come from societies where there is strong opposition to cooperating with the other, and they must overcome hostility from within their own families and from the people around them. Support is beyond difficult until they take their story to the Internet and inspire others. Executive producer John Marks will be in attendance. Shows Thursday, March 6, 6:55 p.m.




After the Tsunami (Larry Foley, USA, 30 min.) *Midwest Premiere

After the 2004 catastrophic Indonesian tsunami, Former Presidents Bush and Clinton created a scholarship program for survivors of that disaster. Students were sent to Texas A&M and the University of Arkansas to study. This film recounts the horror these students survived and how, through their education in the United States, they’re working to rebuild the human capital in their home villages and cities. Shows Saturday, March 8, 4:50 p.m.


All Of Us Home (Julia Lull, USA, 27 min.)

Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP), created and run by students of Villanova University,  is a unique shelter because it only caters to its residents during the winter months and it holds 30 men. This short film – written, directed and produced by a social justice documentary class in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University – shines a light on an injustice in our society and will cause people to act so that all of us are home. Shows Sunday, March 9, 12:05 p.m.


The Children Next Door (Doug Block, USA, 37 min.)

The Children Next Door recounts the fear and pain of domestic violence through the eyes of children. This multiple award winner takes us on a family’s journey to discover the truth that lies beneath a reoccurring cycle of violence and the solution to end it. Raised in Tennessee households fraught with domestic violence, Penny and Brad Waldroup vowed when they fell in love to end the cycle. A ten-year marriage plagued by waves of mounting violence, all in front of their four young children, culminated one horrific night. The film opens five and a half years later as the family that shaped their lives. Within three short months, we witness an astonishing turn of events. Shows Saturday, March 8, 6:20 p.m.


From Spokane With Love (Joseph Comine, USA, 45 min.) *World Premiere

A group of Americans is inspired to take a trip to Iran as a way to bridge the gap of misinformation and stereotypes created by the media. This labor of love documents the trip and also challenges the audience to reflect upon its own misconceptions. Filmmaker Joseph Comine will be in attendance. Shows Saturday, March 8, 3:10 p.m.


Hear Our Voices: Transforming the Children’s Mental Health System (David and Patricia Earnhardt, USA, 59 min.) *Chicago Premiere

Inspiring stories of nine children and young adults who are fighting to overcome their mental health issues. Their stories are framed by some of the nation’s top mental healthcare experts, who contend that children’s mental health issues are real and treatable, occurring with much greater frequency than most people imagine. Shows Saturday, March 9, 7:00 p.m.


Life Changing Moments (Sherry Thomas, Uganda/USA, 18 min.)

Director and surgeon Dr. Sherry Thomas travels to Africa to provide free surgery and medical care to dozens of impoverished African women suffering with fistula. This inspiring documentary contrasts the experience of providing health care in Africa with her medical practice in the USA.  Shows Sunday, March 9, 12:35 p.m.


On The Spot (Eszter Cseke and Andras S. Takacs / Hungary, 27 min.) *Midwest Premiere

A Qassam-fighter is collecting the remaining parts of Ahmed Jabari’s body from his wreck after an Israeli airstrike that killed the head of al-Qassam Brigade. A Palestinian journalist who doesn’t believe in violence, is getting a phone call, his 8-year-old daughter was hit. A shiver cut three of her fingers off. Parallel stories of the Qassam-fighter whose dream is to blow himself up to take revenge and the journalist who is willing to do anything to get the daughter into an Israeli hospital — the only place where she can be saved. The birth of hatred and hope —  the chronicles of the latest conflict in Gaza. Shows Thursday, March 6, 6 p.m.


Passive House Revolution (Faith Morgan and Eugene “Pat” Murphy, USA, 31 min.)

A rapidly growing movement in Europe and the US aims toward drastically reducing building energy consumption. This film tells the story of America’s super-insulated house movement of the 1970s, which led to the German Passivhaus. This movement demonstrates that it is possible to reduce the primary energy used in buildings by an extraordinary amount, 80-90%, as compared to the 20-40% goal currently set by Energy Star, LEED and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Today there are more than 20,000 such buildings in Europe. Shows Saturday, March 9, 3:57 p.m.


Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens, USA, 40 min.)

Nominated for best short documentary at the 2014 Academy Awards, this moving cinéma vérité breaks through the walls of one of America’s oldest maximum security prison. Shot over a six-month period, the film takes us behind the walls of the Iowa State Penitentiary and enters the personal lives of the prisoners as they build a prison-based, prisoner-staffed hospice program from the ground up. We focus on a terminally ill prisoner, Jack Hall, and the hospice volunteers, they themselves prisoners, who care for him. Shows Friday, March 7, 9:10 p.m.


Reactor (Ian MacKenzie, Canada, 34 min.)

Yogi, Buddhist teacher and activist Michael Stone arrives on a pilgrimage to Japan, in the wake of the tsunami and Fukushima meltdown. Reactor aims to uncover how and why we can let go of our old stories, and move toward personal and social awakening. Shows Saturday, March 8, 5:20 p.m.




dress (Henry Ian Cusick, USA, 20 min.) *Midwest Premiere

Shot against the stunning backdrop of Hawaii, dress is a poetic and emotional tale of British expat Ben (Scandal and Lost star Henry Ian Cusick) and his two children as they struggle to cope with the death of his Hawaiian wife. Ben finds comfort in wearing her signature red dress, causing conflict and confusion among his family and friends. This genuine and thoughtful story explores how this family deals with their loss. Shows Friday, March 7, 10:20 p.m.


Glance (Chris Rule and Ben White, UK, 3 min.)

Have you ever caught a stranger’s eye and wondered… What if? Shows Friday, March 7, 7 p.m.


The Painter (Kevin Cooper, USA, 14 min.)

Amid wailing sirens and a squawking police scanner, he sits uncomfortably…cleaning a paintbrush. An interviewer’s voice, unsure of what he is witnessing, asks the boy to explain his existence…his art. Though the police instruct the boy to ‘return to work’, the interviewer holds them off until finally the boy agrees to show us his art. Step inside the line…his art – a world at war. Are you ready? Chicago based.  Shows Friday, March 7, 6:00 p.m.


Ravi & Jane (Stuart O’Rourke, Australia, 14 min.) *Chicago Premiere

A shy 10 year old, Ravi, just moved to Australia from his native land of Sri Lanka. On his first day in a new school, he is befriended by Jane. While their lives are worlds apart, the two are inseparable until circumstances beyond their control divide them. Shows Saturday, March 8, 5:55 p.m.


A Spring Has Passed By (Eva Daoud, Bahrain, 7 min.)

The winds of change have passed by and were called the Arab Spring. A husband and father no more; his family was swept away by the blowing winds of violence taking all that was dear and leaving him with invisible remnants imprinted deep into his soul. Shows Thursday, March 6, 6:45 p.m.




Eternal (Arman Uplekar, USA, 7 min.) *World Premiere

On the Sunday morning of August 5, 2012, a white supremacist entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and began a shooting spree. Six Sikh-Americans were murdered, with the gunman taking his own life. In the aftermath of the tragedy, family members of the victims work to cope with the tragedy. Pardeep Kaleka, son of murdered temple president Satwant Singh Kaleka, connects with a former Neo Nazi by the name of Arno Michaelis in an attempt to make sense of the violence that claimed his father’s life. Subject Arno Michaelis will be in attendance. Shows Friday, March 7, 6 p.m.


The High Five Apprentice (Tom Kanter, USA, 8 min.) *Midwest Premiere

This animation introduces Ray, a well-meaning but wimpy man who loses his job and his girlfriend, then encounters Blotto, a cat and self-proclaimed Cat-God of High Fives. Blotto whisks Ray off to the High Five Realm, where he teaches him the joys of high fiving, and reveals to Ray the true meaning of paying it forward. Director Tom Kanter will be in attendance. Shows Saturday, March 8, 8:10 p.m.


Justice (Ashley Pegg, 13 min.) *U.S. Premiere

An act of outrageous violence compels the accused to face his victim with their respective families present to resolve and restore the peace. The film documents Restorative Justice practices used to resolve conflict between high school students. Shows Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m.


A Quest For Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions (Matthew Evans, USA, 10 min.)

Young filmmaker Matthew J. Evans takes a look at one of the most pressing issues in our modern society: violence among religions. Through discussions with Arun Gandhi, grandson of M.K. Gandhi, and local religious leaders from the Central Coast of California, Matthew learns powerful lessons about nonviolence, acceptance and cultural understanding. Shows Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m.


Stepping Toward the Lion: Finding My Story (John Lyden, USA, 14 min.) *World Premiere

This is a journey of a young African-American Muslim as he ventures through an interfaith storytelling group and gains a new perspective on life after dealing with years of prejudice and bullying. Storytelling enables Alaudeen to better understand and overcome the one major obstacle that stands between him and his future: his fear.  Filmmaker John Lyden will be in attendance. Shows Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m.


The Vigil (Christopher Hillen, USA, 16 min.) *Midwest premiere

Since October 7, 2001, the first day of the war in Afghanistan, peace activists in Corvallis, Oregon, have quietly continued the nation’s longest-running daily protest. These astonishingly dedicated men and women stand outside the local courthouse from 5 to 6 p.m., waving banners and flashing peace signs at passing cars, braving extreme weather, counter-protests and threats of violence. But as the war enters its twelfth year, three vigil members are losing hope that they will live to see peace, and must decide how long this peace vigil can, and should, continue. Shows in the Student Filmmakers Showcase Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m.



Thursday, March 6

6:00pm                 Opening Night emceed by Jerome McDonnell, Host of WBEZ, Worldview

6:20pm                 On The Spot (short documentary)

6:45pm                 A Spring Has Passed By (short narrative)

6:55pm                 Under the Same Sun (feature narrative) + Q&A with executive producer John Marks, founder and president of Search for Common Ground

8:45pm                 Partners for Peace (feature documentary) + Q&A with director Ed Kucerak and delegates Jaclyn Friedman, Lauren Embrey and Janaan Hashim

Friday, March 7

6:00pm                 Festival Opening + Eternal (student short), The Painter (short narrative) and Q&As with Eternal subject Arno Michaelis & The Painter director, Kevin Cooper

7:00pm                 Glance (short narrative) followed by A Special Screening of feature narrative The Other One followed by a Q&A with The Other One director Josef Steiff, producer Elizabeth Theiss and executive producer/actress Grace McPhillips

9:10pm                 Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (feature documentary) followed by a Q&A with director Edgar Barens

10:20pm               dress (short narrative)

Saturday, March 8

10:00am               Student Filmmaker Showcase: The Vigil, Stepping Toward the Lion: Finding My Story, A Quest For Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions and Justice, followed by a Q&A with student filmmakers

12:00pm               The Ghosts of Jeju (feature documentary) Filmmaker Regis Tremblay in attendance

1:40pm                 Filmmakers Panel moderated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker John D. Hancock with 2014 POEFF attending filmmakers including (to date) Regis Tremblay (The Ghosts of Jeju), Paul Moorehead (A Step Too Far?), Joseph Comine (From Spokane With Love), John Marks (Under the Same Sun) and Ed Kucerak (Partners for Peace). Kara Rhodes (BridgeWalkers)

3:10pm                 From Spokane with Love (short documentary)

3:55pm                 Passive House Revolution (short documentary

4:50pm                 After the Tsunami (short documentary)

5:20pm                 Reactor (short documentary)

5:55pm                 Ravi & Jane (short narrative)

6:20pm                 The Children Next Door (short documentary)

7:00pm                 Hear Our Voices: Transforming the Children’s Mental Health System (short documentary)

8:10pm                 The High Five Apprentice (animated short)

8:20pm                 A Special Screening of Jeremy Seifert’s GMO OMG + Q&A with TBD

Sunday, March 9

11:00am               BridgeWalkers (feature documentary) Tribal Leader Dave Courchene will be in attendance.

12:05pm               All Of Us Home (short documentary)

12:35pm               Life Changing Moments(short documentary)

1:15pm                 Peacemakers Panel with Karyn Calabrese (Karyn’s Raw), Arnold Stieber (Chicago Veterans for Peace), Dave Kraft (Nuclear Energy Information Service) and Tribal Leader Dave Courchene

2:55pm                 Der Bauch von Tokyo (Tokyo’s Belly) (feature documentary)

4:15pm                 Man Up and Go (feature documentary)

6:00pm                 A Step Too Far? A Contemplation On Forgiveness (feature documentary) filmmaker Paul Moorehead will be in attendance

7:10pm                 Awards Ceremony + Festival Closing Remarks

POEFF’s mission is … raising awareness of peace, nonviolence, social justice and an eco-balanced world.

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