Tuesday, September 5, 2006

30 Teenagers, 7 Short Movies, 1 Dream of Peace

Kudos to the Creative Peace Network their effort to promote peace and cross-cultural understading.  They are making a difference a few teenagers at a time.  Please support their efforts when ou can.  plk
Read the entire article at: http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2006/09/03/movies/03hays.html&tntemail1=y

THE organizers of this summer's Peace It Together Camp here never expected it would be easy to bring together 10 Israeli, 10 Palestinian and 10 Canadian teenagers to make several short films in a spirit of dialogue and collaboration.  But they also never expected to do so in a time of war.

The conflict erupted in Lebanon just two weeks before the youths arrived on this gulf island on Canada's west coast. "There were some sleepless nights," acknowledged Adri Hamael, co-executive director of this 18-day event, arranged by the Creative Peace Network.

"Suddenly the Middle East looked like it was on fire.

If bombs are dropping on people's heads, they tend not to be in a very generous mood.  When violence escalates, people become more polarized and skeptical about programs like this one. 
But I had faith that we would make it happen.

Gathering young Israelis and Palestinians in a safe environment as a means of breaking down barriers is not a new idea.  Several charitable organizations undertake such efforts annually in North America, and one such meeting was captured in the Oscar-nominated 2001 feature-length documentary "Promises."

But the Creative Peace Network, which had organized a previous peace camp in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2004, decided to use filmmaking as a way to promote cross-cultural understanding and cooperation after being approached by the Gulf Island Film and Television School.  "Our point has always been to use dialogue and creativity as a means of breaking down barriers and changing lives," Mr. Hamael said.

On arrival the students were broken down into seven groups to work in either animated, documentary or dramatic filmmaking.  Each group was assigned an adult mentor to help with brainstorming sessions, screenwriting and technical matters.  Each morning the teenagers met to exchange views about their lives and the Middle East conflict; in the afternoons they worked on their films.

Part of the inspiration for "On the Line," a combination of documentary and drama, came after one of the Israeli youths, Nir Ayalon, revealed to the other teenagers that he would serve in the Israeli military next year.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

Learn more about the Creative Peace Network http://www.creativepeacenetwork.ca/

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