2015 Peace on Earth Film Festival in Chicago

| March 18, 2015

The 2015 Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF), presented by Transcendence Global Media, NFP, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special events, will showcase a captivating exploration of film in the areas of nonviolence, tolerance and social justice – with corresponding panels and filmmaker Q&As – at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington St., Thursday, March 19, through Sunday, March 22.  All screenings are free and open to the public. No reservations necessary.

The festival is in its 8th year, and last year audiences of all backgrounds and ages converged at the POEFF to watch dozens of World/US and Midwest/Chicago premieres, including 2015 POEFF award winner for Best Short Narrative, “dress,” directed by “Lost’s” Henry Ian Cusick. Additional filmmakers on hand to receive their awards include John Marks, whose “Under The Same Sun” won Best Feature Narrative, and Illinois resident Edgar Barens, who won Best Documentary Short at the 2014 Peace On Earth Film Festival for “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” before it went on to win the Oscar the following month.

The 2015 features promise to be equally compelling. They include the Chicago premiere of J Street: The Art of the Possible, an urgent political story told with the intimacy of cinema vérité that takes viewers to high-level strategy meetings and long nights on the road in a captivating glimpse at the role of lobbyists in the American political process. And the powerful documentary Beyond the Divide follows a Vietnam Veteran and a peace advocate in Missoula, Montana, as they mend the decades of animosity left behind by the Vietnam War.

Notable international entries include Memories on Stone, winner of Best Film at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, a tragicomic view on filmmaking in a war-affected country. From The Netherlands, Joan’s Boys follows a warmhearted social worker’s efforts to save out-of-control minority adolescents, and Egyptian student short MOOD follows the filmmaker’s depressed pianist father. A complete list of 2015 films can be found on the website.

Begun in 2008, POEFF is an annual event shining a light on filmmakers’ challenging perspectives regarding issues such as human rights, neighborhood violence, domestic violence, bullying, war, world politics, environment, economics and more. The festival strives to put Chicago at the forefront of international efforts for peace and environmental recoveries, while bringing together filmmakers, academics and social activists in discussion panels and educational components.

The War on Drugs: And Its Effect on Low Income Communities (Free Spirit Media, USA, 11 min). This documentary explores three possible solutions to improve and heal the negative effects of the war on drugs, mass incarceration and the lack of opportunities that exist in neighborhoods throughout the US: decriminalization of certain drug crimes; improving support and treatment for drug addicts and ex-offenders that are re-entering communities; and providing a stronger base of education for community members. Shows Saturday, March 21, 11:44 a.m.

The Chicago Boyz (Tiara Epps, USA, 13 min). Tim Shaw, founder of The Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team, is giving young men the opportunity to escape the epidemic of increasing violence in the city of Chicago. Shows Saturday, March 21, 12:47 p.m. Filmmaker Tiara Epps will be in attendance for a post-show Q&A.

Home Delivery (Tom Brandau, USA, 15 min).  Home Delivery is a story of two 13-year-old-newspaper delivery boys in adjacent Baltimore neighborhoods in 1974; the white boy delivers the Baltimore News American and the Black paperboy delivers the Baltimore Afro-American. When the Black paperboy is chased down by a group of white teenagers for taking a shortcut through their neighborhood in order to deliver his papers, the white paperboy comes to his aid. Shows Sunday, March 22, 11:50 a.m.

Learn about more films at: www.peaceonearthfilmfestival.org

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
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