Global Peace Film Festival returns for its 11th year
Discover emotional and powerful films in 10 venues across the city
Published: September 18, 2013
“I think Billy & Alan was selected this year because it puts a human face on the devastating consequences of anti-gay public policies, which still exist in the majority of states, including here in Florida,” says director Vicki Nantz. “Those discriminatory policies hurt people; they hurt families; they hurt adults and children alike. And when those policies are celebrated and condoned here in America, it sends a terrible message to the rest of the world.”
But if you’ve already read Manes’ article, what more can you learn from the short film? “The nature of documentary production required a slightly different telling of Billy’s written story, but it stays true to it and is no less compelling,” Nantz says. “It adds other voices to his, explores the issues, and it honors the relationship. I think friends and fans of Billy Manes will approve of Billy & Alan. … Billy is the face of this issue right now.”
For a schedule and descriptions of all the films, visit peacefilmfest.org. Tickets, which range from $8 for a single film to $199 for a priority-seating pass to all movies, are available both online and at each venue at the time of the screening.
(narrative feature, 80 minutes)
★★★ (out of 5 stars)
Daud, an 11-year-old Muslim boy (played well by Muatasem Mishal), is the son of the local imam in Brooklyn. After seeing some Jewish boys forget their Torah, Daud attempts to return it to their school, but accidentally leaves his own cherished Quran instead. Returning to reclaim it, he’s mistaken for a Jewish student. Unable to resist the temptation to learn about Judaism – and also still desperate to find his Quran – he keeps going back, eventually befriending a Jewish boy. Adopting the name David, he blends in, despite the warning of his strict father (effectively portrayed by Maz Jobrani) to “be careful. [Jews] don’t like Arabs.” Adding to the tension over whether Daud will be discovered are struggles with his sister, who wants to break tradition by moving away for college. Although the film by first-time director Joel Fendelman should be commended for its subtlety, cultural commentary and religious insight, it would have been better as a short (and actually was based on Fendelman’s 2009 short, Daud). At 80 minutes, the feature seems stretched and predictable. Still, the drama of David holds some emotional power.
(6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Mad Cow Theatre) – Cameron Meier
Four Days in Chicago
(documentary feature, 82 minutes)
★★ (out of 5 stars)
There’s a great documentary to be made about the Occupy phenomenon: how an ad hoc street movement came together to challenge the criminality of the ruling order, only to be shut down by pure Gestapo tactics. Four Days in Chicago plays like 82 minutes of raw footage out of which one might assemble the trailer to that movie. Legendary cinematographer and activist Haskell Wexler captures Occupy’s protest of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago, and the results are as good-looking as you’d expect. Otherwise, the film is like Occupy itself: scattershot and unfocused; bereft of a concrete, coherent story; and refusing to prioritize any one participant over another – except for Wexler, who periodically trains his camera on himself so he can tell us what to think. Some pithy but fleeting deconstructions of concepts like “security” enliven a project that mostly preaches to the converted, and sometimes not even in complete sentences. (7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Mad Cow Theatre; 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Rollins College – Suntrust Auditorium) – Steve Schneider
> Email Cameron Meier