2016 Peace On Earth Film Festival






Open and free to the public, the festival showcases movies that tell real-life stories of
terrorism, injustice and triumph that occur close to home and abroad


CHICAGO – January 25, 2016 – The Peace on Earth Film Festival, presented by Transcendence Global Media, announces its official film selection. The films will be shown during the 8th Annual Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF) at the historic Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater Thurs., March 3, through Sun., March 6, 2016.

POEFF celebrates and supports independent filmmakers and their work from around the world on the themes of peace, nonviolence, social justice and eco-balance. The festival, which is free and open to the public, gives attendees the unique opportunity to see 26 films from 11 different countries that often are unavailable to see anywhere else. The movies showcased in the festival tell real-life stories and events that happened or are currently occurring locally as well as globally. During the festival, attendees also have the opportunity to interact with the filmmakers and to discuss ideas, actions and solutions that can advance peace.

Jerome McDonnell, WBEZ radio’s Worldview reporter, will be the master of ceremony opening night. The festival also features filmmaker and peacemaker panel discussions, Q&As with attending filmmakers, student films showcased, and a closing night awards ceremony where exhibiting filmmakers are honored.

“Many of the films in this year’s festival run parallel to what is currently happening here in Chicago as well as around the world, including concerns for housing in separate quarters for Syrian refugees and preserving the dignity of women and children who often are considered substandard citizens and abused in certain areas of the world,” said Nick Angotti, Director, Peace on Earth Festival. “One of the purposes of this festival is to bring to light films that are often challenged to find exhibition and to contribute to a culture of peace through international cinema, dialogue and programming highlighting individuals on the vanguard of peace activism and social change.”


Film List


Our Girl
Country: UK (Animation, 3 min)
Director: Ruth Beni
Synopsis: “Our Girl” is aimed at young women who are in danger of being forced to marry someone against their will.


Freedom Stories
Country: Australia (Feature Doc, 99 min)
Director: Steve Thomas
Synopsis: “Freedom Stories” is about the lives and achievements of former “boat people” who have spent the last decade making Australia their home. Thrust into a hysterical political climate, they languished in mandatory detention only to then be granted temporary protection visas. Yet with astonishing resilience they have succeeded in building new lives in their new country.


The Same Heart
Country: USA (Feature Doc, 67 min)
Director: Leonard Morris
Synopsis: The beauty of the world in its children’s faces belies the injustice of their chances in our current global landscape. With vivid and often beautiful footage of hard places to grow up in, shot in eleven countries, “The Same Heart” documents the stark effects of inequality on the world’s children.


Since: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
Country: UK (Feature Doc, 85 min)
Director: Phil Furey
Synopsis: Terrorism is one of biggest problems facing humanity today, but the families of the 270 victims of Pan Am Flight 103 have lived with it for decades. From the early days when an unprepared U.S. government left the relatives to fend for themselves; however, these first victims of terrorism proved that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary feats.


HOPE FOR ALL – Food matters. You matter
Country: Austria (Feature Doc, 101 min)
Director: Nina Messinger
Synopsis: Half of the population in Western society suffers from being overweight. Cardio-vascular disease and cancer are epidemic. Our meat consumption has quintupled over the past 50 years. At the same time globally 1.8 billion people are suffering from starvation. Is it possible that there is a simple solution for all of these problems? Austrian with subtitles in/part.


In Our Sons Name
Country: USA (Feature Doc, 66 min)
Director: Gayla Jamison
Synopsis: Phyllis and Orlando Rodríguez’s lives shatter when their son dies with thousands of others in the World Trade Center. Instead of seeking revenge, the grieving couple begins a journey of reconciliation. With subtlety, humor, and disarming candor, “In Our Son’s Name” is an intimate portrait of a response to violence that challenges conventional concepts.


India’s Daughter
Country: India (Feature Doc, 62 min)
Director: Leslee Udwin
Synopsis: The remarkable and inspiring short life of Jyoti Singh, “India’s Daughter” is a study into the mindset of the men who committed her gang-rape and murder in Delhi in December 2012 and the patriarchal society and culture which foment such actions. The film is optimistic, however, as the case has become a catalyst for change. Hindi with subtitles.


I Am a Ukrainian: personal stories of a revolution
Country: USA (Feature doc, 90 min)
Director: Ben Moses
Synopsis: When an idealistic grad student and a charismatic TV journalist-cum-politician become activists in Ukraine’s 2014 revolution, they change even more than the country. Ukrainian with subtitles/in-part.


At The End of The Line
Country: USA (Short Doc, 5 min)
Director: Robert Kerr
Synopsis: In 1939, in Nazi Germany, an amazing thing happened: Jewish parents, sensing their lives were in danger, placed their children aboard trains to be raised by foster families across free Europe. They did this knowing they would probably never see their children again.


Country: Canada (Short Doc, 42 min)
Director: Eleanor McGrath
Synopsis: What began with a fire at 295 George Street in Toronto becomes the catalyst to share the story of over 100,000 children who came to Canada as indentured farm labor and domestics. This is the forgotten history of many Canadians, both of the children themselves and their descendants.


Kanthari: Change From Within
Country: Germany (Short Doc, 52 min)
Director: Marijn Poels
Synopsis: The film follows blind Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg, as they travel across East Africa to reconnect with graduates of “kanthari,” an institute which they founded that trains activists from the margins of society who use new approaches to solve social problems.


Holodomor: Voices of Survivors
Country: Ukraine and Canada (Short Doc, 30 min)
Director: Ariadna Ochrymovych
Synopsis: “Holodomor: Voices of Survivors” tells the story of a genocide engineered by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1932-1933 to suppress Ukrainian nationhood. By confiscating all livestock, grain and basic foodstuffs, Stalin ensured the starvation of the countryside. The world turned a blind eye as Soviet authorities exported Ukraine’s wheat to the West while millions perished.


Good Business
Country: South Africa (Short Doc, 25 min)
Director: Rob Schermbrucker
Synopsis: What role can business play in transforming a society? By exploring the story of Raymond Ackerman (founder of a South African retail giant Pick n Pay), we encounter the power that love, forgiveness and compassion can have in overcoming the injustice, prejudice and hatred of the apartheid era in South Africa.


A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone
Country: USA (Short Doc, 66 min)
Director: Marlene “Mo” Morris
Synopsis: Long before “black lives matter” became a rallying cry, Edythe Boone embodied that truth as an artist, an educator, and a great-grandmother. When a deeply personal tragedy ignites a national outcry, everything that Edy has worked for comes into question. “A New Color” illuminates the social issues of our time and shows how the work of one woman reverberates throughout a community to inspire a powerful chorus


The Peace Exchange / “HACIA ADELINE”
Country: USA (Short Doc, 17 min)
Director: Chad Rispalje
Synopsis: “The Peace Exchange” focuses on young Chicago leaders, called Peace Builders, committed to peace and nonviolence, and their two-week trip to Nicaragua in a cross-cultural exchange with community organizers, students leaders, and peace activists, all designed to build relationships that enable them to lead, educate, mentor, and nurture peace in their communities.


Nagasaki: Why Was The Second Bomb Dropped?
Country: Germany (Short Doc, 44 min)
Director: Klaus Scherer
Synopsis: It took two atomic bombs to end World War II on the Pacific theater. That’s what a U.S. newsreel told the public. Truth, myth, or mere propaganda? More than 100,000 struck dead in the blink of an eye. Where a ruthless enemy, innocent passersby’s or guinea pigs of the most lethal technology ever invented?


Kawergosk: Home Made of Cloth
Country: USA (Short Doc, 31 min)
Director: Saddam Al-Zubaidi & Elizabeth Wuerffel
Synopsis: After fleeing war in Syria and crossing the border into Kurdistan Region, Iraq, Syrian Kurds attempt to build a life in Kawergosk Refugee Camp. Music, food, and education provide families some comfort and meaning while they struggle with camp conditions and the persistence of waiting.


When The Heron Flies
Country: France (Short Narrative, 18 min)
Director: Lionel Laget
Synopsis: In the demilitarized zone (DMZ), a young North Korean soldier and a South Korean ornithologist young woman are lost in admiration of a of pair herons.


Country: USA (Short Narrative, 21 min)
Director: Stephen T. Barton
Synopsis: Michael is a 12 year old boy with autism. Because of ASD he endures ridicule and rejection from kids in school and his impoverished community. But he puts his curse to work and creates beautiful art with intricate sketches of scenes he sees in his violent world, and the lives of people he doesn’t even know change in profound and significant ways.


Happy Those That Cry
Country: Paraguay  (Feature Narrative/92 min)
Director/Producer: Marcello Torcida
Synopsis: Juan is a boy from a wealthy family who doesn’t seem to find his path in life. Juan’s rebellion does not fare well. A group of local kids find an injured Juan; and a series of confrontation evolve, bringing together Father Mario, a corrupt police force and hardened drug dealers. Through it all “Happy Those Who Cry” is a story full of hope and redemption.


Country: Guatemala (Short Narrative, 23 min)
Director: M.D. Neely
Synopsis: A violent secret in Guatemala City is affecting families in every social class and neighborhood. Everyone knows yet are silent. However, Vicente decided to speak up, and his true story in a landmark legal case reveals what happens when a child is bold in the face of injustice and how those in power stood on his behalf.


Films by Student Filmmakers


INSIDE OUTSIDE (will be screened with regular programming)
Country: Israel (Short Narrative, 10 min)
Director: Shira Meishar
Producers: The Ma’aleh School of Television & Film
Synopsis: A young woman stops at a public facility late at night to do a pregnancy test. To her dismay she discovers she is pregnant. But due to unexpected events that occur the same evening, she finds herself able to share her fears with an unlikely companion. Hebrew with subtitles.


The Lives We Stand For
Country: USA (Short Doc, 13 min)
Director: Scott Brown
Synopsis: As national outcry in America grows around police brutality and the murder of innocents, 25-year-old Chicago revolutionary, David “Iggyflow” Rucker, takes a stand against a corrupt justice system.


Daily Bread
Country: USA (Short Narrative, 9 min)
Director: Betsy Tsai
Synopsis: In the middle of night, Omer and Yoni, two Israeli Jewish brothers, encounter Khalid, a Palestinian boy from the West Bank. A fight ensues, resulting in a broken leg. The boys are uncertain what to do. The varied histories, sentiments, divisions, and desperation of both families surface through the boys’ memories, and ultimately in their discordant approaches to the situation at hand.


11 Minutes
Country: Israel (Short Narrative, 20 min)
Director: Hagai Adorian
Producers: The Ma’aleh School of Television & Film
Synopsis: A military ambulance is called to evacuate a seriously wounded young soldier. Aboard are its staff of three young soldiers, one of whom is a young female paramedic on her first tour of duty. Faced with life and death decisions, she will either succeed or fail and be responsible for the life or death of a fellow soldier. Hebrew with subtitles.


The Negative Effects of Female Genital Mutilation
Country: USA (Short Doc, 7 min)
Director: Arnelle Johnson
Producers: Free Spirit Media
Synopsis: Worldwide, 30 million girls and women in 29 known countries in the Middle East and Africa are at risk of female genital mutilation. The film’s message is to help people understand why this happens and how they can take a stand and change this practice. Youth produced with Free Spirit Media.


About the Peace on Earth Film Festival
Now in its eighth year, Peace On Earth Film Festival (POEFF), the primary project of Transcendence Global Media, NFP, is a not-for-profit festival established to celebrate and encourage the work of independent filmmakers from around the world on the themes of peace, nonviolence, social justice and eco-balance. POEFF endeavors to enlighten and empower individuals, families, and communities to step out of the ignorance of conflict, violence and divisiveness, into the light of communication, consideration, tolerance and understanding. For more information and complete schedule, visit www.peaceonearthfilmfestival.org


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