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Film festival explores trauma, healing and reconciliation

Maria Fernandez | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The ScreenPeace Film Festival returns for its fifth consecutive year at Notre Dame on Thursday with a new selection of films to broaden and enlighten attendees’ views of the world.

In conjunction with the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC), the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies has selected a number of award-winning documentaries that present past and current international and domestic conflicts. Each film presentation will be followed by a discussion panel with leading professionals in the fields of International Studies and Peace.

The Kroc Institute hopes the screening of these films will help promote campus-wide knowledge and recognition of important political and social issues.

“Our goal is to highlight peace issues around the world using film as a medium,” Hal Culbertson, executive director of the Kroc Institute, said.

This year’s festival has several innovations that will distinguish it from past years. The Kroc Institute worked directly with film director and Notre Dame faculty member Olivier Morel to select the films and theme for this year’s weekend-long activity.

“In working with Olivier Morel, we have developed a general theme for the whole series,” said Culbertson.

Morel’s film and the other selected documentaries are centered on trauma, healing and reconciliation in the wake of war, Culbertson said.

Below is a preview of the ScreenPeace films you won’t want to miss.

“On the Bridge” (2011)

Thursday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m.

The festival opens to the public with the screening of a faculty member’s documentary focused on the effect of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Morel focused his work on the lives of six war veterans who try to readapt to American life once they return to the U.S. The film has been presented in seven festivals around the world since last summer and has won two awards.

“Rebirth” (2011)

Friday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Director Jim Whitaker’s film tells the story of five people whose lives were completely changed on Sept. 11, 2001. He portrays their 10-year transformation from trauma to hope as he simultaneously shows the evolution of the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

“Nostalgia for the Light” (2010)

Friday, Feb. 3, 9:30 p.m.

The Atacama Desert in Chile is widely known as a great working-field for astronomers. However, it also hides the bodies of a number of political prisoners who were killed by the Chilean army after the 1973 military coup. Director Patricio Guzman’s film presents trauma and the power of reconciliation as relatives try to find a sense of closure by searching for the remains of their loved ones.

“Enemies of the People” (2009)

Saturday, Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m.

From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia. Their regime was characterized by arbitrary executions and torture that resulted in genocide. Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin’s documentary features the testimony of the men and women who perpetrated these atrocities and kept silent for more than 30 years.

“Fambul Tok” (2011)

Saturday, Feb. 4, 9:30 p.m.

In Sarah Terry’s film, Sierra Leone’s victims and perpetrators reunite for the first time after a brutal civil war. Through “fambul tok” (family talk), these citizens work for sustainable peace in their country and attempt to forgive and heal all past wounds. The ScreenPeace Film Festival returns for its fifth consecutive year at Notre Dame on Thursday with a new selection of films to broaden and enlighten attendees’ views of the world. 

On campus

What: ScreenPeace Film Festival

Where: DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

When: Thursday, Feb. 2 – Saturday, Feb. 4.

How Much: Free but ticketed

Learn More: http://performingarts.nd.edu