GPFF is the Film Festival Central Florida Needs Right Now

Over the past year, I’ve watched countless numbers of friends and strangers stand on the steps of city hall, march alongside their neighbors in solidarity for social justice, get up another day to knock on doors, make phone calls to GOTV, attend rallies, and tirelessly do whatever it takes to make a difference in the run-up to this year’s critical mid-term elections here in Florida where we are also electing a Governor.

Central Florida, in the words of one of our Supervisor of Elections, is at the epicenter of state politics. The vaunted “I-4 corridor” is precious political real estate and everyone wants to influence election outcomes here.

This year, thank goodness, the Global Peace Film Festival (GPFF) is arriving right in the middle of the midterm chaos (Sept. 17–23). Smack between the primaries and the run up to the general, the festival will give all the hardworking volunteers, campaign staff, even the candidates themselves, and all their weary fans and friends, a much needed boost of inspiration and shot of adrenaline to continue to fight the good fight in order to make it across the all-important, looming finish line.

But even if you’re turned off by politics and tired of watching the news, come to the festival to rekindle your hope for the future.

These films show us the why. They remind us who and what we are. They reinforce our vision of who we want to become.

Here are some highlights from the festival you won’t want to miss:

Before the festival begins, get a first look at award-winning director Dan Karslake’s new film, “For They Know Not What They Do.” It’s a follow-up to, “For the Bible Tells Me So” that premiered at Sundance. Karslake will be in Mount Dora to talk about both films, their impact, and answer all your questions. Find out more here.

Another pre-opening event is the screening of “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed & The NRA.” This film touches me on so many levels. For starters, one of the case studies featured is my friend Kate and her son. I saw this film the weekend before the Pulse Night Club mass shooting. It’s when I decided to join the League of Women Voters as a member and to become a sponsor of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Violence. It’s also the first time I met Carlos Guillermo Smith and knew he was destined for a major role in national politics. If you care about the stranglehold the NRA has on Florida politics, you need to see this film. It will screen Sept. 14 at 6:30pm on the Winter Park Campus, Valencia College. Find out more here.

Every Act Of Life profiles world-renowned playwright Terrance McNally’s pioneering five-decade career in theater, focusing on the struggle for LGBT rights and his pursuit of love and inspiration at every age.

The festival will kick off officially once again at the famed Enzian Theater on Tuesday night, Sept. 18. The opening night film is “Every Act of Life.” It begins at 6pm and the film party at the Eden Bar begins after the film at 8:30pm.

I’ve heard the film is lovely. It details the playwright Terrance McNally’s career and life.

We learned just recently that one of the films in the festival just became a finalist for the 2018 Student Academy Awards. The film is, “An Edited Life.” The film is about the filmmaker’s grandmother who he challenges to face her true identity, her Jewish identity that she’d hidden since the war. Director Mathieu Faure is coming to the festival. It screens with two other films: one is about the memories of an 80-year-old survivor of the Nanjing Massacre. The third is a daughter’s personal essay about her father, an American Jew who had lost his family in the Holocaust, but was a pilot who flew the Berlin Airlift in response to the Soviet Union’s blockade of West Berlin in ’48-’49. The film looks at individual responsibility in times of political crisis.

A fresh take on the old story of the American Dream, Time For Ilhan offers an inspiring, stereotype-busting portrait of a rising political star as she begins a bold and powerful political career.

On election and advocacy themes, we have “Time for Ilhan” about the first Somali-American Muslim woman to be elected to state office in America. Ilhan Omar is now running for Congress. The filmmaker is a GPFF alumna.

The movement for sane gun laws swept up the Florida peninsula and marched right into the nation’s capital, led by heroic students who are demanding nothng less than an end to assault weapons and gun violence in America.

We also have “Uprising: Pulse to Parkland,” a local film. Director Vicki Nantz has had several films in past years’ GPFFs. This film features local political leaders Linda Stewart, Carlos Guillermo Smith, and Anna Eskamani and is a call for everyone to get involved and vote.

In addition to the dozens of film screenings, see them all here, there are events you won’t want to miss either. Here are just a couple I’ve highlighted:

Sept. 17, Monday, at 5:30pm, there is an opening reception for the K-12 Peace Art Exhibit at the Orange County Library Downtown.

Sept. 20, Thursday, at CityArts Factory (downtown Orlando), we’re featuring the opening of the “Nelson Mandela through the lens of Peter Morey” photography exhibit. Peter Morey, Mandela’s personal photographer in his last years of life, is coming for the opening from South Africa. The opening reception is part of the Downtown Arts District’s Third Thursday Gallery Hop. The exhibit will remain up until Oct. 12.

Sept. 22, 11am. There is a panel discussion with the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists about Race, Class, and Gender in the midterm Elections.

Also, there is shopping. Support Global Peace with your consumer dollar!

- Friday, Sept. 21 (which is the International Day of Peace), there’s a shopping party at Ten Thousand Villages and the neighboring The Spice and Tea Exchange on Park Avenue in Winter Park. 6–8pm.

- Tuesday, Sept. 11, another shopping party. This one is from 5–7pm at Alex and Ani on Park Avenue. A percentage of sales from both of these events will be donated to the GPFF.

So, come. Join us at the festival. Celebrate your advocacy, your passion, and your part in changing history and enjoy a week of uplifting art, beauty, and entertainment. Come to the festival to nourish your soul.

Tickets and passes available here.

Download the 2018 Program here. (PDF)