ScreenPeace Festival Returns to Campus
Kevin Noonan | Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies presents its sixth annual ScreenPeace Film Festival this weekend at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, kicking off tonight with the 2013 documentary, “The Trials of Muhammad Ali.”
Hal Culbertson, executive director of the Kroc Institute, heads the festival and said he looks for contemporary, acclaimed films that deal with significant and diverse peace issues.
“The purpose of the ScreenPeace Film Festival is to challenge students, faculty, and members of the community to reflect more deeply on peace issues arising around the world, Culbertson said. “We see the festival as complementing our teaching about peace with concrete, and often complex, examples of current conflicts and peacebuilding efforts.”
All of the films screened at the festival received significant critical acclaim upon their release in theaters, and two, “The Act of Killing” and “The Square,” have been nominated for the 2014 Oscar for Best Documentary. Beyond the critical acclaim, the films are chosen due to their relevance to subjects that students cover in classes every day.
“We give particular attention to topics addressed in current peace studies classes and in faculty research, and have faculty with relevant expertise lead discussions after the films, Culbertson said. We also try to include films, such as ‘Wadjda,’ that have received significant critical attention but have not been screened elsewhere in the area.”
Culbertson has overseen the festival since its inception in 2008, and said the core concepts haven’t changed over the years, but this year in particular has a little more ‘oomph’ in the lineup.
“This year we have tried to add a little more ‘punch’ to the festival, not only by showing ‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali,’ which provides fascinating insights into his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War based on his religious convictions, but also through films like ‘NO,’ which bring in some humor,” Culbertson said.
After “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” which shows tonight at 7 p.m., the festival continues Friday at 6:30 p.m. with “Wadjda,” which details the struggles of a 10-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia who wants to buy a bike in spite of cultural norms, and is also the first ever film in Saudi Arabia directed by a woman. Following “Wadjada” on Friday is “NO” at 9:30 p.m., a film that follows a1988 advertising campaign to oust Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Saturday’s screenings begin with “The Square” at 6:30 p.m., which places the audience inside an immersive view of the turmoil in Egypt of the last two or three years. The festival closes Saturday night with “The Act of Killing,” shows a part of Indonesia where death squads, who reenact their killings in the style of Hollywood movies, are celebrated heroes.
Tickets to the festival screeners are free, but they must be reserved online at performingarts.nd.edu.