Imagining the 14th Dalai Lama explaining in a public forum that Buddhist followers should not accept religious teachings out of faith, but rather through investigation and experiment, may feel surprising. Don’t religion and science typically clash? Yet, it makes perfect sense when viewing the documentary The Dalai Lama- Scientist, the latest film by Dawn Engle and Peacejam. This film paints a surprising portrait of the renowned religious leader as he engages with scientists during the eighties, nineties, and the new millennium.
Chaos filled the streets of Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Shootings, car bombings, and civilian death became the norm for citizens living through a time known as “The Troubles”. The strife stemmed from fierce disagreement, both political and religious, between the Protestants and Catholics. No one was safe from this violence. But for Betty Williams, the firsthand experience of living through violence served as a call to action. She made it her life’s mission to spread peace and protect children in the face of unrest- both in her turbulent home nation and around the globe.
Johannes Grenzfurthner has grown tired of ignorance in political discourse. Armed with cameras, animation, a two-piece acoustic band, and a very unique sense of humor, he hopes to educate the rest of us on some key topics of political discourse, like “Capitalism”, “Freedom”, “Privacy”, “Identity”, “Resistance”, and “The Market”. The result: A kinda-sorta-documentary called Glossary of Broken Dreams.
Why is war a constant in our world? The borders between conflicting nations may shift, and the reasons behind the battles may evolve, but the bloodshed never seems to stop. Yet, one leader chooses not to let the status quo of violence dictate the future of humanity. Oscar Arias, the former president of Costa Rica, dedicates his life to the goal of de-weaponizing the world.
For many soldiers haunted by the demons of battlefield experiences, discussing them with ordinary civilians may prove unbearable. Even with their own health and well-being on the line, many would rather stay silent about their struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Filmmaker Stacey Stone brings this struggle to light through her documentary, My Own War. In it, she attempts to open up conversations and illuminate a path towards healing for all of those who suffer from PTSD.
I grew up believing the Mayan Indians were a long lost civilization, like the lost tribe of the Maori. I knew about their amazing science and their calendar, but, at some time in my childhood, had come to believe that they’d been slaughtered by the Aztecs and no longer existed.
As often happens with Dawn Engle’s films through PeaceJam, I learned a lot about both people groups and people that changed my perception through this film—not the least of which being that the Mayan Indians still exist as the indigenous people of Guatemala (as well as a number of other Latin American countries), despite genocidal attempts of a 36 year civil war.