GPPF Brings Orlando to the World Through Virtual Access
Following a successful pivot in 2020 to both safely distanced in-person events combined with virtual online feature and short films to be enjoyed from the comfort of home, the 19th annual Global Peace Film Festival (GPFF) returns this year with a similar hybrid format to deliver a robust program that includes thought-provoking films and art exhibits for people all over the world.
Starting on the International Day of Peace, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, running through Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, a selection of feature and short films will be presented in person at locations in Winter Park and Orlando. These films highlight themes such as civil rights, environmental justice, ethics, human rights, immigration, LGBTQ+, music, social justice, voting, wellness and wildlife.
In years past, this unique festival has brought filmmakers and filmgoers from all walks of life to Central Florida, inspiring them to take action in their daily lives and to leave the world a more peaceful place than they found it. GPFF continues this tradition with a full in-person program as well as virtually through online feature, documentary and short film screenings, panel discussions and art exhibits.
As last year, there will be both a ticketed and a free way to watch the virtual films that will be available from Monday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 3. Both ticketed and free films will be accessible at the GPFF website – as will the filmmaker interviews and information about the in-person events. Both passes and individual film tickets are now on sale at GPFF. Tickets for in-person films at the Winter Park Pubic Library are $10 each. Patrons may purchase a $125 Festival Pass that provides access to all films in person and an additional five films on the virtual platform during the availability window (certain geographic restrictions apply) as well as other ticket and pass options.
The Festival’s opening night film to be screened at Enzian Theater on Tuesday, September 21 is Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times (USA, 2021, 90 mins). Describing themselves as “mischievous brothers,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Demond Tutu give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. Consisting largely of never-before-seen footage shot over five days at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, India, the film invites viewers to join these luminaries behind the scenes as they recount stories from their lives. Directed by Academy Award ®-winning director Louie Psihoyos with co-director Peggy Callahan.
Every year, the GPFF encourages and programs work from local Florida filmmakers. This year’s program includes a seven film shorts program, Focus on Florida (2020/2021, 78 mins), five of which are directed by women. A Break for Impact (2020, 57 mins) follows a UCF legal studies professor and a group of students who journey to the US-Mexico border to witness the growing humanitarian crisis. Actor Gerard Butler embarks on a life-changing journey to see how his mother’s favorite non-profit organization transforms the lives of children in some of the world’s poorest countries in Love Reaches Everywhere (2020, 35 mins). The audience is introduced to the Son of a Sweeper (2021 – 28 mins.), showing with Gandhi Rediscovered (India, 2021, 27 mins), who is working to provide different options and more hope to children of India’s “untouchable” class.
Past and present echoes of civil rights struggles are viewed through Counter History: Rock Hill (USA, 2021, 60 mins) that brings to life landmark event of the civil rights movement while Reparations (USA, 2021, 30 mins) explores the legacy of slavery between Black and Asian Americans and the critical role that solidarity between communities has in acknowledging and addressing systemic racism in America. No Time to Waste: The Urgent Mission of Betty Reid Hoskin (USA, 2020, 52 mins) introduces the audience to the legendary park ranger, telling her personal story as a young black woman in a WWII segregated union hall, through her multi-faceted career to her present public role. The festival screening of this film falls on Ms. Hoskin’s 100th birthday, September 22.
Meet musician Hayden Pedigo who decided to run for city council in Amarillo, TX, after a spoof campaign video went viral. Funny and disarming, Kid Candidate (USA, 2021, 67 mins) captures how even the most unlikely characters can make positive changes for the world around them. Can You Hear Us Now? (USA, 2020, 97 mins) follows four tireless women fighting to have their voices heard in the state of Wisconsin and the right to vote for formerly incarcerated people is elucidated in Out to Vote (USA, 2021, 31 mins), a story of the powerful positive impact of democratic engagement.
Stand Up, Stand Out: The Making of a Comedy Movement (USA, 2020, 35 mins) tells the story of what is believed to be the first gay-owned and operated comedy club in the USA. The David-versus-Goliath struggle to have homosexuality removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental illnesses is chronicled is Cured (USA, 2020, 52 mins).
Take a refreshing journey along the 200 miles next to the iconic Los Angeles aqueduct in Reflection: A Walk with Water (USA, 2021, 80 mins) that offers a vision for what could happen if we designed our lives around water in a different way. Seeding Change: The Power of Conscious Commerce (USA/Brazil, 2020, 51 mins) empowers viewers to support brands and products that make positive change for the planet by “voting with their dollars.” Atomic Cover-Up (USA, 2020, 52 mins) explores the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the perspective of the brave cameramen and directors who risked their lives filming in the irradiated aftermath.
Marin Alsop is the first woman to be appointed as music director of a major symphony orchestra. The Conductor (USA, 2020, 90 mins), set to a breathtaking soundtrack of her performances and unseen archival footage, tells her story from first setting her sights as a young girl on becoming a conductor to teaching the next wave of conductors. Finding Howard(USA, 2021, 51 mins) tells the story of how a song changed the life of educator and musician David Levine and the thousands of students with whom he has worked in schools and communities across the USA.
Around the world, war and political turmoil force individuals and families to seek refuge away from their homeland, now further complicated by the global pandemic. Soul Settlement (Germany, 2021, 97 mins) follows a lawyer who fled from Syria then struggled for years to bring his wife and children to join him. Soul Settlement will be shown with Saeed (USA, 2019, 15 mins) about a Syrian family recently resettled on Long Island, NY. Another program includes The Crossing (USA/Columbia, 2020, 40 mins.), a moving portrait of conflict, suffering, generosity and the depth of the human spirit on the Columbia/Venezuela border. It will be screened with animated film Mila (USA, 2021, 20 mins.) that shows war through a child’s perspective and Greetings from Myanmar (Norway/Myanmar, 2020, 5 mins), a poignant take on that conflict.
Young refugees at the Tibetan Children’s Village in the Indian Himalayas learn to keep their culture after China took their country in Others Before Self (USA/India, 2021, 54 mins). Sleeping Warrior (UK/Canada/Kenya, 2021, 93 mins) follows the first female African Lacrosse team as an unprecedented opportunity transforms their humble lives. Students led a groundbreaking struggle in the late 1960s to win a Puerto Rican Studies program at Brooklyn College, NY in Making the Impossible Possible (USA, 2021, 33 mins.
The virtual program includes seven additional films that are only available via streaming. The vision of the world’s best hot air balloon pilots peacefully flying over Babylon and ancient Mesopotamia is the subject of Balloons Over Babylon (Sweden/Iraq, 2019, 70 mins). In Building Common Ground (Germany, 2021, 90 mins), young people from diverse backgrounds attend a school that’s focus is peace and a sustainable future. Neuroscientist Emile Bruneau’s work to use the tools of neuroscience and psychology to bring peace to people in conflict is explored in Emile (USA, 2020, 16 mins) as he faces a terminal brain cancer diagnosis.
The importance of education is the focus of Khape (India, 2020, 78 mins), a dramatic feature film about a boy finding the value of going to school and getting an education. Oleg Vidov came of age in communist Russia where he was celebrated as one of the Soviet Union’s biggest movie stars but no amount of fame could save him from a system that tried to control his life. This began Oleg’s desperate struggle for freedom in Oleg: The Oleg Vidov Story (USA, 2021, 97 mins). The Khe Sanh Peace Garden(Vietnam, 2020, 26 mins) is a portrait of a medevac pilot who found peace within himself and with his mortal enemies when he tries to build a peace garden at the Khe Sanh Combat Base where we was stationed during the Vietnam War. Montana’s crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people is explored in They Are Gone (USA, 2021, 60 mins) that focuses primarily on Native voices and perspectives.
Official GPFF Event:
DO THE EVOLUTION, an exhibition by Leonardo Bianchi on view at CityArts, at 39 S. Magnolia Ave. in downtown Orlando September 16 through October 17, features twelve iconic illustrations all custom curated for the 19th annual Global Peace Film Festival.
Art is a powerful ally in the fight for social justice. It gives voice to the unheard and visibility to the marginalized. This understanding is central to the vision of the Global Peace Film Festival and the work of this year’s spotlight Argentine-born artist and illustrator, Leonardo (Leo) Bianchi, also known as “GMcFly”. For more information, visit peacefilmfest.org/cityarts/.
About the Global Peace Film Festival
The Global Peace Film Festival, established in 2003, uses the power of the moving image to further the cause of peace on earth. From the outset, the GPFF envisioned “peace” not as the absence of conflict but as a framework for channeling, processing and resolving conflict through respectful and non-violent means. People of good faith have real differences that deserve to be discussed, debated and contested. GPFF works to connect expression – artistic, political, social and personal – to positive, respectful vehicles for action and change. The festival program is carefully curated to create a place for open dialogue, using the films as catalysts for change.