Global Peace Film Festival Provides Collaborative Learning Opportunity

September 15, 2008

Global Peace Film FestivalThe Global Peace Film Festival (GPFF) was held September 17 – 21. With panel discussions and film screenings, the Festival celebrates films that set out to make a difference in the world.

The GPFF is much more than a film festival. The academic experience linked to the Festival extends the goals of Rollins' core mission, using film as a medium to promote reflection on global citizenry and responsible leadership. From classes with academic curriculum based around the Festival to public screenings of student-produced films, the College's participation in this Festival adds a new element to the pedagogical process.

"With dozens of feature-length social documentaries, narrative films and shorts, the 2008 Global Peace Film Festival has something for every member of our community,” said Assistant Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies Denise Cummings.

The multimedia festival includes podcast interviews with the filmmakers as well as postings on Facebook and YouTube. The Festival brings the world to the Rollins campus by presenting 47 different films from North America, Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Festival includes six films from Florida and three produced by Rollins College students. To coincide with the screenings, the Festival will host free discussion panels about social justice and peace initiatives.

The Festival provides an opportunity for students and faculty to combine their efforts with the community to advance global peace. Rollins faculty members have constructed a core group of planners including Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, The Office of Community Engagement and Rollins College Conference (first-year program) classes. The faculty strives to combine classroom concepts, course content, co-curricular activities and film media. Rollins professors will introduce the films and lead discussion panels with filmmakers, journalists and media professionals.

Event collaborator and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Joe Siry hopes that students and faculty will “see the films, pick up the themes and carry them into the educational experience.” Siry’s Eco-Justice course focuses on “creating, hosting and critiquing a forum about social justice.” Other faculty members involved include Critical Media and Cultural Studies Assistant Professor Denise Cummings, Visiting Instructor Kristin Shamas, Associate Professor Lisa Tillmann and Assistant Professor of History Julian Chambliss.

A core course in the Critical Media and Cultural Studies curriculum is "Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies," which focuses on how forms of media and culture facilitate or undermine participation in a democratic society. Tillmann believes the Festival goes hand in glove with classroom concepts, and hopes the Festival will "raise consciousness about serious social issues and present avenues for change."

The Global Peace Film Festival involves student participation at all levels. The Festival is part of the curriculum for "Media, Peace, and Justice," an immersion course created by Cummings that enables students to serve as interns and co-producers for the Festival. The student film, “My Rollins College T-Shirt,” which was produced by four students as course work for Tillmann's "Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies" course, was shown at the Festival. The documentary tracks the products sold in the campus bookstore revealing the use of sweatshop labor in some of the products.

Rollins alumni Shaun Cricks and Jamie Snead Cricks presented their award-winning documentaries, “Out of the Muck-Geraldine’s Story” about the plight of Apopka farm workers, and “The Snake and the Rat,” which focuses on the deadly tornadoes that hit Central Florida in 2007. The Rollins student pieces were shown as a short-film collection.

For more information, visit the Global Peace Film Festival website.

By Heather Georgoudiou (Class of 2009)

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