Peace On Film: The Untold Stories of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (Article)

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 | 0 comments

Peace Jam SignNobel Peace Prize Laureates, an award-winning filmmaking series and youths from all over the world: these are some components that make up PeaceJam, a non-profit organization that captures the life story of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates on film. The organization also provides a means for these Nobel Peace Prize winners to teach young people the art of peace, and to date, over one million young adults from thirty-nine countries worldwide have participated in the year-long PeaceJam program.

PeaceJam shares the stories and lessons of the Laureates through its award-winning Nobel Legacy Film Series designed to capture the essence, spirit and work of these global leaders of peace and the films have been very successful so far. Google Play runs an exclusive promotional campaign for each of the films once they are released, the organization enjoys worldwide distribution for each of its films through Gravitas Ventures – an independent global film distributor -, and all of the films in the series have won awards. Their latest film, “Adolfo Perez Esquivel: Rivers of Hope” was released in six different languages this past June, and has already won two “Best Documentary Film” awards. PeaceJam also has educational distribution in place for its films via Kanopy Films.

The idea of capturing the stories of these Nobel Laureates on film was an extremely powerful idea for PeaceJam because it allowed them to share the spirit and inspiration of these leaders with people of all ages, all over the world, thereby helping young people become effective agents of change within their own communities.

According to Dawn Engle, a co-founder of PeaceJam, the organization’s goal is “to have millions of people see these films over the next twenty years, to inspire people worldwide, and to preserve the legacy of these amazing souls — the Nobel Peace Laureates”. With its various distribution channels in place, PeaceJam is certainly on its way to achieving its goal.

Dawn Engle and her husband, Ivan Suvanjieff, want to help change the world for the better with their PeaceJam Foundation.

Dawn Engle and her husband, Ivan Suvanjieff, want to help change the world for the better with their PeaceJam Foundation.

However, the road hasn’t always been easy because like all indie filmmakers, the organization continues to grapple with raising funds for its film projects and getting its films made on schedule. This challenge is overcome by stretching every dollar to its limit, to ensure that films are made within budget, and by relying on the generous donation of time and resources by various people who truly believe in the organization’s mission.

PeaceJam produces one feature length documentary film each year; a level of commitment that requires quite a bit of discipline and focus. The organization is currently in post-production on the film, “Rigoberta Menchu: Daughter of the Maya“, while in production on the film, “Dalai Lama: Scientist” — the untold story of the Dalai Lama’s work in the field of science over the past 35 years. Engle says,

the thing that has helped us most is our blue collar work ethic — my husband Ivan and I … have built our reputation on getting things done on time, and doing what we have promised to do — for 22 years now. So it is our very highest priority to get every single one of these films done, at a very high quality and on time.”

These challenges make it all worthwhile as the organization continues to be rewarded by people’s emotional reactions to the films and gratitude for sharing the untold stories of these Nobel Laureates. Engle says,

We hope that people will watch the films, get inspired, and understand that they themselves can do something to help the world”.

PeaceJam is exploring having its films featured on local television stations, and used as educational tools in high schools and universities around the world. The organization is also looking into organizing many more community screenings for the films, and in showcasing the films in more film festivals, both in the USA and internationally. To see a list of the films and to watch, click here.

In addition to the Nobel Legacy Film Series, PeaceJam runs a campaign called “One Billion Acts of Peace”, an effort designed to generate one billion acts of peace and service by the end of the year 2019. So far, the campaign has logged over 6.6 million acts of peace onto its 1billionacts.org website, and the campaign has been nominated seven times for the Nobel Peace Prize Award.

For more information and to get involved, visit peacejam.org, and billionacts.org.

To be a part of the Nobel Legacy Film Series, send an email directly to [email protected].

Anwuli Okeke is a vlogger about Africa and the founder of iLunafriq, an SVOD platform dedicated to showcasing African films. Follow her daily findings on Twitter.

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