The Global Peace Film Festival is back and weirder than ever
Published: September 15, 2011
Global Peace Film Festival
Through Sunday, Sept. 25
$8 per screening
Main Screening Venues: Cobb Plaza Cinema Café
155 S. Orange Ave.
First Congregational Church of Winter Park
225 S. Interlachen Ave., Winter Park
Gallery at Avalon Island
39 S. Magnolia Ave.
Orlando Science Center
777 E. Princeton St.
Several campus venues, Winter Park
Every year around this time, we take advantage of September’s post-summer/pre-holiday breather space to look around at the world, appreciate its natural beauty and wonder, “How’s that ‘world peace’ thing going? You know, that thing the Dalai Lama and Ron Artest are always talking about?”
Although we’re grateful for a disaster-free 10th anniversary of 9/11 and for the return of Glee, it’s difficult to take stock of things and not recall the villain Magneto’s line from this summer’s mega-hit X-Men: First Class: “Peace was never an option.”
Just this week, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, is under siege by the Taliban (oh yeah, we’re still duking it out there), pretty much all of Europe’s money is no good (join the club!) and a Tampa crowd at a Republican debate, when asked whether a hypothetical uninsured man should be left to die, responded with enthusiastic agreement. Peace? Did I mention Magneto totally wins in that movie?
Still, as evidenced by the grass-roots revolutions in the Middle East, and also Beyoncé’s baby, hope springs eternal. To that end, the ninth edition of the Global Peace Film Festival, executive director Nina Streich’s annual reminder that, yes, good things happen in the world sometimes (albeit usually in response to really, really bad things, but whatever), is back with a batch of films ranging from glorified infomercials (Project Happiness) to quirky indie comedies about Russian revolutionaries (The Trotsky) to bikers at military funerals (Patriot Guard Riders).
We got ahold of a few particularly interesting standouts and are happy to report that this year’s fest is weirder and more ambitious than GPFF has dared in the last few years. So come on, get happy, damn it!
The GPFF’s “Coffee Shorts Program” is a compendium of short films set in and around Israel, loosely connected by the device of coffee – whether being brewed, drunk, used to tell fortunes or simply waved about while philosophizing, coffee is present in each film. Of the seven shorts, two are documentary; both of those are set in Ramallah and fall squarely in the pro-Palestinian camp (so to speak). The films don’t attempt to explain the Middle East conflict – a wise choice for any filmmaker, no matter how much footage he or she has to burn – so viewers who aren’t already versed won’t be educated, though the weak-minded may be propagandized.