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Arts & Culture

Global Peace Film Festival celebrates 10th anniversary

Festival director Nina Streich: "It's not exactly what you expect."

Photo: Dion Beebe, License: N/A

Dion Beebe

The Zen of Bennett screens 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, on Mills Lawn, Rollins College

A lot of the program is kind of like that. I mean, several years ago, during the Iraq War, we had less Iraq War films than the Florida Film Festival, for instance, and that was a surprise to some people. … That's what makes it interesting, it's not exactly what you expect.
Planeat, for instance, is a food film, and we have a film called Trial by Fire: Lives Re-forged, about burn victims, which is an inner-peace kind of film.

Over the years, the Global Peace Film Festival has changed, adding or subtracting different elements – festivals, talks, parades. What are you doing differently for the 10th edition of the festival?

We are not having the street fair this year, and instead of that, we're doing screenings in community centers in Orlando before the festival, with films from previous festivals, as a sort of lead-up. My goal was to have 10 screenings in 10 community centers to represent 10 years of the festival. And I overshot that goal. We actually have 11.
Hopefully we'll do that again next year with more. What I like about that is bringing it out to the community – people have to come to the festival, but this brings the festival out to the community.
Also totally unique this year, there will be an online-only part of the festival that'll go live on our website, so it'll turn on the 18th and be turned off on the 23rd. It'll have films that are not in the regular festival, mostly short films, easy to watch. Several of them are films by local filmmakers, many of them student filmmakers. … We had a lot of films we wanted to accept that we just didn't have room for. We'd been talking about doing something online for a long time, and here's our opportunity. I actually think that's the way that film festivals are going to go in the future anyway, more online offerings. Film festivals are changing.

In what way?

There are more and more online festivals, and there's a lot of talk about them changing. Somebody I know who's a film festival consultant is really pushing a new online platform. We'll be doing something, expanding online in the future, but I'm not exactly
sure yet.

What films in this year's festival do you think would be of particular interest to Orlando Weekly readers?

The Uterati: Fighting Back in the War on Women. It features a lot of local women activists, from [Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando president and CEO] Jenna Tosh to [Florida Watch Action executive director] Susannah Randolph to lots of others. Vicki Nantz is the director. Her partner, [attorney] Mary Meeks, is the producer. … This is actually Vicki's third film we've programmed at the festival. She called me up and she said, 'This film is a little more out there; this is an angry film. I don't know if you'll be able to program it.' But it's very timely.

On the other side of the fence, we have a film called Party Crashers about the Tea Party. It's really a reporting film. It's about some of the founders of the Tea Party factions in the early days, how it evolved, what the ideas were. It's less editorializing and much more reportage. It's fairly straightforward, and from my perspective, it's not hard enough on them, but it does touch on the racism, the gun-toting. But the spokespeople that it follows, they kind of say, 'Well, that just happens, it's not what we're about and we can't control what people in our audiences do' kind of thing. It gives voice to those people. I found it interesting, I found it useful.

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