WBEZ’s Jerome McDonnell to emcee Opening Night

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.

2012 Peace On Earth Film Festival

January 26, 2012


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.

2012 POEFF Film Festival Schedule

Dialogue for Peace Outreach Program

November 10, 2011

Contact: Nick Angotti, 773.273.1598


A Different Kind of Hero to Our Youth

Most young people have nothing to do with the violence that bleeds through our neighborhoods, yet the fascination with violence and gangster heroes saturates youth culture. But some of Chicago’s youth have met a different kind of hero this year, whose documentary film on life in Mozambique lifted them to a new level of awareness, inspiring core values of respect, compassion for others and a desire to make a difference. Now they have a chance to meet him in person.

Mozambican youth documentary filmmaker and AIDS orphan, Alcides Soares, at 16 years of age crafted a ‘grab your heart’ documentary taking us through the grimmest reality of daily survival, and Alcides’s search for his lost siblings. His film, Home Is Where You Find It, is part of a program that teaches compassion, tolerance, trust, and hope in education; as well as the possibility of a healthy and happy future.

Members of the Chicago media are invited to join Chicago Public School students and teachers at two life-changing screenings of Home Is Where You Find It. Now 21 years old, and leading a life far removed from his tragic youth, Alcides is in the city as part of the Dialogue for Peace Outreach Program. This is a unique opportunity for students to view the film, meet and dialogue with Alcides Soares, a different kind of hero.


Screenings in two Chicago Public Schools:

When: Monday, Nov. 21, 2011

First Screening: 9:30-11 a.m., at Hendricks Community Academy Elementary (4316 S Princeton Ave, Chicago)

Second Screening: 12:45-2:15 p.m., Josephine Locke Elementary School (2828 N Oak Park Ave, Chicago).

The screenings are being presented by Dialogue for Peace (DFP), an outreach program of Chicago’s very own Peace on Earth Film Festival (www.peaceonearthfilmfestival.org), which is held annually each February at the Chicago Cultural Center. The DFP outreach to students in the Chicago Public Schools is an ongoing part of the festival, which makes its presence felt in the city year-round.

“We use films to engage children in dialogue on nonviolent practices.” said film festival director Nick Angotti.

Brad Parker, National Board Certified Teacher, has said of the program: “Students really open up. That was the real power of the program. I feel that after the dialogue and discussion, the class became incredibly more teachable — because they understood each other so much more and they understood their common humanity.”


Additional Comments: Students, Teachers and Principal

“I saw something in my students I had never seen before: I saw a level of sensitivity. I believe that they were moved – truly moved – by what they saw, and shortly after that the student leadership really started to come to life.”

Veronica Thompson, Principal, Paul Revere Elementary School


“Students would benefit from fun, interactive lessons and dialogue, and teachers would benefit from the well developed lesson plan and activities. The community would also benefit from students beginning to see themselves as a part of a bigger world…”

Deborah O’Brien, International Baccalaureate Coordinator


“This program (DFP) gave our students a chance to be heard…not only in the classroom, but in the community as well. My students could not wait to share their experiences with peers and parents.”

Jennifer Hammons, 7th Grade Teacher, Locke Elementary


“(The DFP) can make us change our point of view, and it can make us do something to make a difference, and make a better world… ”

10th Grader, Steinmetz Academic Center


“The biggest benefit of the (DFP) program would be changing how people see the world, teaching to make a difference.”

8th grader, Gallistel Language Academy


“I am really glad our school was part of this program; because it had a very big impact on our class”.

12th grader, Universal School


Home Is Where You Find It, which Alcides Soares, an AIDS orphan, made in 2006, with the help and encouragement of Law and Order SVU, Executive Director, Neal Baer, is a 16-minute film about his efforts to reunite the siblings of his shattered family. It is also a tale of young people coping without their parents in deepest poverty. His message to Chicago students is “Never give up, have trust in yourself and hope in the world, life becomes better.”


Dialogue for Peace Outreach
A Program of: Peace On Earth Film Festival
1424 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Contact: Nick Angotti
Ph: 773.273.1598   FAX: 773.944.0530
Email: nickpeacefilms@aol.com


Nick Angotti
Peace On Earth Film Festival

2011 Peace On Earth Film Festival

The Board of Directors of Transcendence Global Media, nfp, are pleased to announce that the 2011 Peace On Earth Film Festival, will once again be hosted by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and will take place at the Chicago Cultural Centers’ Claudia Cassidy Theater, Friday, February 25 through Sunday, February 27, 2011.

The 2011 POEFF will present 30 Official Selections out of a field of 148 international films addressing peace, nonviolence, social justice and an eco-balanced world. On Friday evening the festival will host a Special Presentation of “Radical Disciple, the Story of Father Pfleger”, the filmmakers, Bob Hercules and Keith Walker, will be in attendance for Q&A.

“The Peace On Earth Film Festival was designed to encourage filmmakers to craft films in the genre of peace, nonviolence, social justice and an eco-balanced world, says POEFF Exec Director, Nick Angotti, “yet, we have taken the festival beyond showing films and awarding filmmakers.”

The Festival helps 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 in addition to the screenings.

The 2011 Peace On Earth Film Festival will once again host 600 students and their teachers in its Student Voices for Peace Showcase on opening day, with selected films to stimulate dialogue on nonviolent solutions and practices which can be introduced into our own communities.

The Chicago Cultural Center is a free venue. There is no charge for the Film Festival.

Chicago Cultural Centers’ Claudia Cassidy Theater, (entrance) 77 E Randolph St.

For information on the POEFF, visit our website: peaceonearthfilmfestival.org or call 773.273.1598.

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