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.
Austrian filmmaker Johannes Grenzfurthner is on a mission to find all the nerdiest spots and people in America—at least, all the spots associated with the nerdy people he connected with online ahead of time. With a roadmap that takes him 7,000 miles (from California to New York) and an agenda of communist apologetics to share, he sets out to explore everything from creature effects companies to sex-geeks to massive caves to cyberpunks to alien researchers—all from an outsider’s perspective.
In 1970s Scotland, a musical wave swelled with energy. The genre of punk music attracted a tenacious following, thriving on the raw energy of its performers and fan base. So fast-moving that it almost instantly transitioned into post-punk, this movement suddenly gave many young people a voice- and a tenacious audience for their music.
The worldwide stage was re-reminded of Argentina when Cardinal Bergoglio was chosen from that country in 2013 by the Catholic Church to become its new Pope. But before Pope Francis was awarded his own Nobel Peace prize, there was another notable countryman of his had earned it.
Argentina has a history that goes back hundreds of years. A rich culture and heritage had made it the bread basket of South America, but, for half of the 20th century, vicious dictators rose to power, enslaving the nation and “vanishing” people who didn’t agree with their methods.
Against this horrific backdrop, Rivers of Hope documents the story of Nobel Peace laureate, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Esquivel was orphaned at three and raised in convents, later with his blind father (whom famed Evita Perone helped grant a pension), and finally with a grandmother in an indigenous tribe. His attempts to stand up for those without voices would get him brutally imprisoned and, later, nearly killed. His survival is nothing short of astonishing, as was his rise to help Argetina regain its memory of the past—so they might not be destined to repeat it—and his establishment of Peace Villages to help teach much needed skills to those who had no one to teach them.