The power of the media – and of film – can be used to develop greater understanding and tolerance, and can contribute to defusing conflict rather than inflaming it. Films can demonstrate, in informative and entertaining ways, that workable solutions can be found to contentious problems.
Our goals in sponsoring the Series are to: - Showcase films that contribute to preventing and reducing conflict - Honor filmmakers who work within this framework - Encourage future productions that promote understanding, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence - Popularize this kind of filmmaking - Move audiences from viewing to dialogue to action
"Can You Hear Me? Israeli and Palestinian Women Fight for Peace," is the first documentary to explore in depth the role of Israeli and Palestinian women peace activists dealing with one of the world's oldest conflicts. Though prospects for peace have ebbed and flowed between Israelis and Palestinians, women peace activists have worked consistently to bring an end to the bloodshed that has brought so much anguish to both sides. No matter how desperate the political situation seemed, these women never stopped communicating with each other. They come together in their bereavement over the loss of loved ones to demand a better future for their children and grandchildren. There is bonding, there is friction, there are differences of opinion. But most of all, it is a story about women who continue to hope and continue to keep on trying to hear each other.
When bloodshed ends, political agreements are signed, and peace is restored, the past still remains. In the last 15 years, a number of countries emerging from political turmoil have chosen to move forward into the future by looking back. They believe the unspeakable truths of massive human rights abuse can't simply be forgotten; rather, they need to be aired and acknowledged so that victims can regain their dignity and society can be rebuilt. By telling the stories of truth and reconciliation commissions in Peru, South Africa and East Timor, this 75-minute documentary reveals how commissions work, what they can and cannot achieve, and what impact they have on the communities they serve. York Zimmerman Inc. in association with the United States Institute of Peace
On Christmas Eve of 1914 a remarkable event took place in the trenches, on the frontlines of World War I, where the Germans faced the British and the French. There was a spontaneous cease-fire as troops from the three sides laid down their weapons and observed the birth of Christ. The irony of this gesture is made clear in the opening scenes of "Joyeux Noel", in which schoolchildren of the three nations sing with angelic fervor about the necessity of wiping the enemy from the face of the earth.
This is a story of love, joy, and pardon filmed with disarming candor and humor. Poeuv's debut feature resurrects memory and personal history to reclaim her family's past, and what is easily a heartbreaking story also becomes one of triumph. Winner of both the "Top Ten Audience Pick" and Amnesty International's "Movies that Matter" award at the 2006 International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, New Year Baby is a testament to one father's extraordinary bravery, and the love that binds a family together. The film transforms a conversation of victimhood and shame into one of heroism and honor.
The Power of Forgiveness looks at forgiveness through the many lenses of different faith traditions: teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on forgiveness in the Buddhist religion; Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on forgiveness in the Jewish faith; author Azim Khamisa on forgiveness and Islam; Rev. James Forbes, pastor of Riverside Church in New York, on forgiveness from a Christian perspective; and best-selling author Thomas Moore on forgiveness from a spiritual dimension.
The idea for Sons of Sakhnin United was developed shortly after B'nei Sakhnin, an Arab Israeli soccer team, won the right to represent the State of Israel in the European cup competition. The production crew who followed the soccer team over the length of a season consisted of seven Arabs, four Jews, and four foreigners. This documentary is a movie about soccer in the same way George Orwell's Animal Farm is about horses and cows. It is a remarkable window into a much bigger story about the present state of affairs in Israel and the Middle East. Jews and Arabs striving for a common goal can seem unlikely in today's world, and yet the small Arab town of Sakhnin has been united by sport. Beating the odds in a quixotic quest for Israel's State Cup, the multi-ethnic soccer team B'nei Sakhnin battles to maintain their "premiere" league status.
Mass graves now exist in the city of Kaduna in the north of Nigeria. Next to one grave, a Christian pastor and a Muslim imam lead a group of children in an interfaith prayer service. This is the opening of The Pastor and the Imam, a film exploring issues of faith and forgiveness in a part of the country once torn by conflict.
Although Nigeria's motto is "Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress," the country has at times become a Muslim-Christian battleground, with religious militias wreaking bloodshed. Religious violence has particularly affected northern Nigeria, whose population is evenly comprised of Muslims and Christians. Pastor James and Imam Ashafa were once participants in rival militias. Pastor James lost a hand in one such violent event. However, gradually the two came to know, and eventually, to trust each other. Both also came to understand that their religions teach tolerance, respect, and peace – and both found refuge and comfort in these teachings.
The two men gradually developed a friendship, and joined together to form the Inter-faith Mediation Centre, in which teams of pastors and imams travel throughout the country, leading seminars and spreading a religiously-based message of coexistence and nonviolence. Although the two faiths disagree on some issues, cooperation and unity are essential. Pastor James says, "We are like a husband and wife that must not divorce. If we divorce, our children will suffer, and because of our children…the global community, the Nigerian youth, and Christian and Muslims, we cannot separate."
One of the greatest statements ever made by an astronaut was by Astronaut Rusty Schweickart after he orbited the earth in Apollo 9. He went outside to repair the capsule, and he had a life changing experience. Years later, he reflected on that experience with a most amazing "prayer" for the earth about all that he saw from space. Schweickart recalled the silence and the freedom and called his reflection, "no limits, no frames, no boundaries."
Award-winning film critic Godfrey Cheshire uses the relocation of Midway, his family's North Carolina plantation, as the occasion to examine the Southern plantation in American history and culture, including its impact on areas as diverse as music, movies and contemporary race relations. Part present-tense family drama, part cultural essay, the film also involves an ongoing dialogue between Cheshire and Dr. Robert Hinton, an African-American history professor whose grandfather was born a slave at Midway Plantation. In the process Cheshire discovers that he has over one hundred African-American relatives, all descendants of the same plantation.