September is a month for the film festivals. Many studios in gearing up for Oscar season release their best and brightest films to festivals in Venice and Toronto this month, and while the occasional gem is revealed, the majority of the screened films are standard Hollywood message movies lacking any real substance. Substance and message movies are two things though that the upcoming 7th Annual Global Peace Film festival will have plenty of. As anyone who has ever attended the festival in years past knows, it is unlike any other around. This year, The Global Peace Film Festival will showcase 39 films from 6 continents, each film completely different except for a common thread of unification and the filmmakers shared dream to help better the world.
I talked with Dr. Denise Cummings who, along with a core group of other Rollins faculty, has been working together over the last several years with Nina Streich, the Festival founder. The mission of the faculty is the same as that of the festival, Dr. Cummings believes- "to teach global citizenship and responsible leadership." The festival's mission, she says, is to create a "global discussion" to "highlight the power of film as a medium as it relates to new peace issues." All features, Dr. Cummings explains, that make the Global Peace Film Festival "unique as a film festival."
The festival begins on September 22 with an outdoor screening on Rollins' very own Mills Lawn of 'The Day After Peace.' The film, directed by Jeremy Gilley, follows the filmmaker around the world in a 10-year journey to establish September 21st as an International day of Peace. From there, the remaining 38 films tackle such diverse topics as how to cope with the death of a child, an old Volkswagen beetle, a performance artist's stand against "Europe's last dictatorship", and a concert to benefit migrant farmworkers. The film dealing with this last topic, titled "UNO: The Harvest of Hope" is of particular interest because of the close relationship its filmmakers have with the Rollins Community. Filmmakers Shaun and Jamie Cricks are no strangers to the Orlando area and are in fact Rollins Alumni. To be able to come back to their Alma Mater years later must no doubt be a thrill, though the idea of screening a film here isn't a new one to the Cricks, who have done it twice before in this same festival. This time though, the subjects are America's many migrant workers. "Everybody knows who their doctor is, their lawyer, and their teachers, but why don't they know who their farmer is?" It's an interesting question that the film poses and one that the filmmakers support throughout the 75 minute run time with "music, interviews and historical clips," according to the festival's website. Dr. Cummings, who has been involved with the festival over the last four years and is very passionate about this year's flock of films, is "very excited" about this one in particular, though she wishes she "could see every film in this year's program."
The festival, which runs until the 27th, offers Rollins students a discount of $3 off the standard $8 ticket price and screenings will be held in various buildings and around campus. The festival's website, www.peacefilmfest .org, has the full schedule and synopsis of each of the 39 films. Truly, the Global Peace Film Festival has something for everyone and Rollins students are strongly encouraged to try and attend even one screening. The impact and importance of this festival is summed up best in Dr. Cummings words that "attending films, meeting filmmakers, and engaging in panel discussions, students, faculty, staff, and members of our community can become more aware of important issues and learn how to get involved in creating positive change in our world." Isn't that the real point of a film festival in the first place?