The Global Peace Film Festival is returning to Rollins at a time when our campus desperately needs it. Orlando has taken a serious blow to its morale this past year with the violence that struck our community through the Pulse massacre, and although we have come together in strength and solidarity, it is easy to lose hope for true peace in the face of tragedy. The Global Peace Film Festival is no stranger to the violence that plagues our world, but through the medium of film, it seeks to foster hope and change even when facing adversity.
Since its establishment in 2003, the Global Peace Film Festival has expanded from a small collection of films to a nationally recognized annual event. It has become a cultural staple in Winter Park and Orlando—the festival provides an incredible platform for the community to come together on deeply resonant issues of peace and activism. Executive director of the festival, Nina Streich, emphasises the importance of showcasing each film in a way that engages the viewer more substantively with its material; she schedules discussions and events about the films that rival the power of the viewing itself with the impact discussion can have.
The Global Peace Film Festival has made it its mission to expand the definition and understanding of peace—not simply as the absence of conflict, but as an entire philosophy that can find expression through art, politics, music, and individual narratives. For someone unfamiliar with the festival and its history, looking at the lineup for this year may come as a surprise. The titles range from Love is Strange, about a gay couple in their first week of newly legalized marriage, to Speed Sisters, about the first all-women racing team in the Middle East, to The Nuclear Requiem, a musical narrative centered on the far-reaching impact of nuclear weaponry.
At first glance, it may seem difficult to reconcile these films with the mission of peace or find a common thread between them. Upon closer inspection, however, each film carries a theme of surpassing differences and fostering understanding between individuals, cultures, and personal truths. This is what makes the Global Peace Film Festival so extraordinary; it invites all in attendance to expand their understanding of the world, to encounter bright and powerful new stories and realities, and to experience how rich and complex a peaceful world can truly be.
This year is a special one for the festival—its kickoff falls on September 19, which means films will be screened on September 21, the International Day of Peace. Established in 1981 by the United Nations and observed around the world by millions of people, the International Day of Peace embodies the goal that the Global Peace Film Festival strives to meet: to bring humanity together, “both in spirit and action;” to foster the ideals and conditions of peace.
As students at Rollins, we are lucky enough to share a community and a campus with the Global Peace Film Festival. Most of the screenings are free with a student ID, and it is a quick walk to view the films presented at the Bush and Suntrust Auditoriums. By engaging with the festival and the incredible films made accessible to us, we are taking the first step toward joining the Global Peace Film Festival in its mission. Peace begins from the ground up, and here at Rollins we are given the amazing opportunity to work toward change and engage with important global issues. The festival runs from September 19—25, and you can find more info at peacefilmfest.org.