The Sixth Annual New York Peace Film Festival (NYPFF) starts with a kickoff party Friday, March 8 at 7pm at All Souls Unitarian Church, 1157 Lexington Avenue (between 79th & 80th Streets), followed by two days of screenings at the same location.
Saturday, March 9 screening
Forbidden Ground, Fukushima
by Kazunori Kurimoto; 57 minutes.
The opening gala will feature a number of the film makers whose works will be screened in the festival speaking about their films.
The following two-day festival will screen 10 films, including documentary shorts, full-length documentaries, a short film that is not a documentary, and the 1982 animated Japanese anti-nuclear classic, Barefoot Gen based on the comic book character created by Hiroshima survivor Keiji Nakazawa, who’s childhood experiences of the bombing and its aftermath are closely paralleled by his main character. Saturday’s screenings are dedicated to the nuclear issue—both nuclear power and nuclear weapons, in commemoration of the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, while on Sunday the films are a potpourri dealing with issues from around the globe.
Saturday’s screenings begin at 1:30pm with Robert Richter’s The Ultimate Wish: Ending the Nuclear Age. Richter is a three time Oscar nominee for documentary shorts and this film focuses on the moving, unforgettable stories of Nagasaki and Fukushima survivors. Their stories are interlaced with experts who illuminated the connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. Robert Richer and co-producer Kathleen Sullivan will be on hand for a Q & A following the screening.
We then turn our attention directly to Fukushima at 2:45pm with Forbidden Ground: Fukushima by Kazunori Kurimoto in its U.S. premiere, as we hear from residents and officials about what happened, the industry’s response and the government’s response. We actually follow one of the evacuees back to look at her abandoned, though still intact, home, hearing her reflections and those of current workers at the nuclear plant. Taku Nishimae, one of the producers will answer questions following the screening.
At 4:30pm we screen the U.S. premiere of a historically detailed account of the bombing run that ended in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki—the secondary target—in Telling the Story of the Atomic Bomb. The second part of the film, produced by Nagasaki Culture Telecasting Corporation, examines censorship in post-war occupied Japan and in the United States of anything related to the atomic bombings. Our classic film Bearfoot Gen, as noted above, starts at 5pm and is followed at 6:30 by the U.S. premiere of a documentary on Keiji Nakazawa entitled Barefoot Gen’s Hiroshima exploring Nakazawa’s experiences as a child growing up in Hiroshima during the war, the horror of surviving the bomb while most of his family died outright, and growing up in a decimated Hiroshima. This documentary, produced in 2012, is very timely as Nakazawa died in December. Filmmakers, Yuko Ishida, Tomoko Watanabe, and Kuniko Watanabe, will join us from Hiroshima via Skype for a Q & A following the screening.
A second day of films continues on Sunday, starting at 1:30pm with Nowhere Left to Go: the Jahalin Bedouin by Harvey Stein. Forcibly relocated from the Negev desert to within sight of Jerusalem decades ago, four Bedouin communities are again facing a forced relocation because of Israel’s desire to annex Jerusalem and the immediate surrounding area. Members of the production team will be on hand for a Q&A following the screening. Then, at 2:30pm, we screen a short film by Anthony Maras dramatizing events during the war between Turkey and Greece over Cypress in 1974. The Palace, inspired by actual events, is a riveting look at the terrible choices soldiers are forced to make. Then, being screened at 3pm, M.I.S. the Human Secret Weapon by Junichi Suzuki is the final film in a trilogy of films exploring the Japanese American experience during WWII. Recruited into the Military Intelligence Service (M.I.S.) these Japanese Americans served as interrogators, translators, de-coders, and intelligence officers in the Pacific Theater of War. Their efforts saved thousands of civilian and combatant lives—on all sides. Our final two films this year highlight the Bosnian war and its aftermath. Filmmaker Roberta Biagiarelli tells the story of Srebrenica at 5pm in Souvenir Srebrenica, a film detailing the Serb destruction of a small city that was 75% Muslim at the start of the war. The ineffectiveness of the UN peacekeepers, the two-facedness of Karadzic, and the helplessness of the general population led to mass murder and displacement. The film then documents efforts to pick up the pieces after the war’s end. Then at 6:15pm Ms. Biagiarelli’s The Transhumance of Peace: an Italian/Bosnian Mountain Road Movie moves just to the north of Srebrenica to the rural area decimated by Serb militia during the war and the efforts of a retired Italian farmer and herder to help the people of the area restart their lives, reclaim their overgrown fields and replenish their herds of livestock. Ms. Biagiarelli will join us via Skype following Transhumance for a Q & A session.
Ticket prices for the Saturday and Sunday festival are $12 in advance for an entire day’s screenings, and $15 at the door (again for as many screenings as you wish to see that day). Advance tickets can be purchased through http://nypff2013.eventbrite.com/. Cash only at the door.