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Global Peace Film Festival returns for its 11th year

Discover emotional and powerful films in 10 venues across the city

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


If you’re surprised that an event like the Global Peace Film Festival is being held in Orlando and not in, say, New York City, you’re not alone. The festival’s executive director is surprised, too.

“It was not my idea to do it in Orlando,” Nina Streich admits. “The person whose idea it was is ... a New Yorker who had business interests down here, and when the [Iraq] War started [in 2003], he wanted to do something to express his opposition to the war. ... I still live in New York, but I’ve really come to enjoy being here and enjoy the community.”

Streich says the festival, which she’s been involved with since its inception, is unique here. “There isn’t anything like it [in Orlando]. In fact, if I did this film festival in New York, the programming would be very much different,” she says. “The programming that we put together here, which I really like, does stand out here. And the other thing I like about [Orlando] is that we’re not preaching to the choir here. A lot of the people who come to the festival are ... not peace activists. They’re not activists of any kind. They’re people who like the arts.”

Speaking of programming, what can audiences see at this year’s event?

“We want to create a kind of arc of a story within the range of films … not just a festival about war,” Streich says. “[Expect films] that show a lot of different issues, that show a lot of different things that people are doing to make a difference, personally, community-wide, nationwide, worldwide.”

Streich’s arc for the 11th annual festival, which runs Sept. 17-22, includes 40 films: three narrative features, 26 documentary features and 11 shorts, although two of the documentary features are less than 40 minutes, technically making them shorts. In addition, the festival website will show another dozen or so shorts. Films are both handpicked and selected from the roughly 200 submissions, and several screenings will feature Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.

If the event sounds documentary-heavy, Streich cautions, “I’d rather see a good doc than a mediocre narrative. … If a narrative isn’t really good, it just doesn’t get responded to the way a good documentary will.”

Because of the event’s unconventional format, which spreads the films across 10 venues in Orlando and Winter Park, it’s possible to see a featured movie without realizing you’ve attended the festival.

“I occasionally meet somebody who says, ‘I’ve never heard of the Global Peace Film Festival,’ and then … they’ll describe a film that was in the [previous year’s] festival.” Streich says. “I say, ‘Where did you see it?’ And they’ll tell me, ‘I saw it at the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College,’ and it’s the only time it’s ever been shown. Well, actually, [that means] you went to the festival.”

One documentary that our readers are already likely familiar with is Billy & Alan: In Life, Love & Death, Equality Matters, a 37-minute film based on Billy Manes’ April 2013 story about his struggles to claim his rights and property following the death of his long-term partner, Alan.

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