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“Nationalism is a truth, unity of the human race is also a truth and only the
harmony of these two truths can bring the highest good of humanity.” – Sri Aurobindo

Postcard from Auschwitz
Postcard from Auschwitz | 16mins
Director: Eric Bednarski | Producer: Eric Bednarski
Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2003 | Story Teller's Country: CA
Tags: canada, europe, americas, human rights, conflict, disharmony, violence
On the 19th of January, 1942, in Nazi occupied Poland, Mieczysław (Mietek) Bednarski, an officer in the Polish resistance, was arrested in Warsaw, Poland. He would spend the next nine months in Nazi custody, six of them in the Nazi-German concentration camp of Auschwitz. In this historical documentary, based on excerpts of the diary Bednarski wrote after being released, a wartime story is told, and the phenomenon of correspondence from Auschwitz is evoked.
By: Eva Arnvig | DK

When adults fight, children lose. "Children of War" is a documentary about the 6 million children in Afghanistan suffering from post-war post-traumatic stress disorder and physical handicaps due to the war. Most of these children live in extreme poverty, many are orphans. Most school drop-outs cannot go to school because they have to go begging food for their parents or having to do child work. At least one million children have to make a living to bring food home to their family. Their experiences: All the children have seen dead bodies, thus most of the children do not believe they will survive to adulthood. These experiences create scars that won’t heal. Children participating in the film had seen headless bodies, limbs, and massacred people among their own family and in their local villages. Post-war post-traumatic stress disorder compromises the childhoods of these children, seriously affecting their learning capacities and their mental development. Experts in child development that specialize in children exposed to war and terrorism also add that these children will suffer severe problems raising their own children and dealing with family and adult problems. They will become easily accustomed to violent behavior.

By: Judy Jackson | CA

There is a crucial new focus on the International Rule of Law - with the intention of bringing war criminals everywhere to justice. Through the years, as a documentary filmmaker I have focused my camera on corners of the world where citizens live in fear of tyrants daily. It was dangerous work, and I too learnt how it feels to live in fear, to have a gun at your head, to receive death threats. I did it because it was important to bring back the voices of the voiceless. It was not much, but it was all that could be done. Little did I know how resilient and ceaseless these voices cries for justice would be. In 2002 the International Criminal Court was set up, resurrecting the vision that died after Nuremberg's promise of 'never again'.

01hr : 06mins
By: Janelle Surpris, Peter Lively | US

Is contemplative practice more than just mindfulness training? Is it possible that deep, centering practices have the potential to create more a balanced and unified society? Though 'mindfulness' has been mainstreamed in many ways and its use promoted for greater productivity and stress management, many contemplative communities desire to shift the conversation back to inner cultivation, unlocking a shared and innate wisdom. In 'Awakening the Wisdom of the Heart', several contemplative practitioners and leaders from a variety of religions — Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Native faiths — offer their thoughts on the pursuit of heart wisdom. As the narrative unfolds, a story of human unity and ecological integrity emerges, leading the viewer into a hopeful journey on why the sacredness of existence in all its forms is so critical today. Several conclusions are drawn about the wisdom of the heart: Heart wisdom is not merely a 'soft' quality - it is powerful, measurable and we are seeing its expression in movements toward economic localization, slow food and technology movements, and greater stewardship for the Earth. There is a need to revive/reclaim the meaning behind contemplative practice as more than mindfulness training, and rather as a concentrated effort toward awakening innate wisdom. Though 'mindfulness' has been mainstreamed in many ways and its use promoted for greater productivity and stress management, contemplative communities have a role to play in shifting the conversation back to the inner cultivation, which unfolds inner wisdom and a natural emergence of love. These deep, centering practices have the potential to create more balanced societies through an awareness for the collective and sense of unity with the whole. It could be time to re-frame the old story based on logic and rationalism to a new story that is inspired by what we know from our hearts as the 'impossible dream.' This new narrative comprises the human desire to be of service and work cooperatively, not competitively, as well as the desire to live more symbiotically with the planet, its ecology, animal kingdoms and the human community. How this takes form is up to us to create; the new story is shaped by stepping out of the status quo and daring to tell your story - the story you'd like to see.

By: omar alkhani | SY

A documentary about the personal suffering of the director in the Damascus suburbs under siege during the Summer of 2012. The film tells about the circumstances of the siege and its nature. It sheds light on the role of activists and reflect how the director tries to hold feelings of revenge at bay while trying to hold on to the vision of a transitional justice.

By: Dusan Trancik | SK

"The Optimist“ is a documentary about the heroic struggle of a man against all odds in the complicated geopolitical space of Central Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Born in 1870 to a Hungarian-Jewish family in today’s Slovakia, Lajosz Winter was a man of entrepreneurial genius and unbreakable spirit. He was the founder of the Slovak Balneological Society and a builder and modernizer of the world-famous Slovak spa town of Piešťany. Despite surviving four political regimes and anti-Semitic, anti-Hungarian and anti-capitalist persecution, he remained a steadfast optimist until his death in 1968.

By: Fernanda Rivero and James Gritz | MX

The documentary explores the inspiration and activities of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa as he leads the annual prayer festival in Bodhgaya, India. He emphasizes that spiritual practice in meditation cushions is not enough: we also need to be active in the world, manifesting our compassionate activity every day. Includes interviews with great contemporary spiritual teachers like Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Ponlop Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche and Matthieu Ricard. It also follow the stories of people, inspired by the Buddha's teachings on compassion to work for the benefit of beings in Bodhgaya.

By: J Maltz & R Sherman | US

Eight women on the margins of Israeli society are thrown together during the course of a school year at Tel Aviv’s oldest beauty school. Amidst the combs and colorings, these women present a microcosm of modern-day Tel Aviv - native Israelis and new immigrants, Asians and Africans, among them women struggling with cancer and personal loss. As they learn to create beauty without, each woman undergoes a powerful transformation within. The eight characters spotlighted in the film share some common ordeals, but also bring unique and varied life experiences to their new environment: two are new immigrants, one from Ethiopia and one from Russia, who see in their new profession a means of escaping destitution; two are foreigners, one from Nigeria and one from Vietnam, who struggle as outsiders in a very close-knit society; two are breast cancer survivors, one a teacher and one a student, who support each other through their illnesses; and two, one a teacher and one a student, have lost their husbands under tragic circumstances. This film tells a story of coexistence – one that plays out in a rather unusual setting – in a part of the world more often associated with conflict and violence. It is a slice-of-life in Israel story that most viewers have probably never seen.

01hr : 14mins
By: Julian Samuel | CA

"The Raft of the Medusa:" five voices on colonies, nations, and histories— a documentary on the Orient in intellectual history. Contemporary and historical views are analyzed by Amin Maalouf, ("Léon L’African"), Thierry Hentsch ("Imagining the Middle East"), Sara Suleri ("The Rhetoric of English India"), Nourbese Philip, ("Looking for Livingstone, Frontiers"), and Ackbar Abbas, commentator on Walter Benjamin and Hong Kong cinema. Extended interviews address issues of emergent nationalism, British India and its partition in 1947, the unique case of Hong Kong as it faces integration with mainland China, Occidental modernism, and Islamic fundamentalism.

01hr : 39mins
By: Helena Bengoetxea Guelbentzu | ES

Noam Chomsky defined agenda-setting as the "the tacit alliance between the government of a country (usually Western and especially U.S.) and the media to communicate to viewers, listeners or readers of a medium only what matters, and hide the most of what can be dangerous or detrimental to the stability they think right for their country." The dominant Western media machinery contributes to the stock market and applies its maxim of "out of sight, out of mind" according to the balance of results. Facing this, hundreds of communication professionals risk their lives in Palestine to tell us in their own words the facts of a drama that has been going on for more than 60 years and in which they inevitably participate. Manipulated, deformed or simply erased from mass media agendas, the reality of Palestine – like that of so many other conflicts – stubbornly persists in finding its way through the cracks. Cracks that the big media conglomerates and their contradictions cannot hide. Cracks that occasionally turn into paths.

01hr : 26mins
By: Hazuan Hashim & Phil Maxwell | GB

Featuring veteran anti-war campaigner Tony Benn and peace campaigners from around the world, the film examines works by artists in response to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twelve artists provide a candid analysis of war through their work and take the viewer on a journey that celebrates humanity and the struggle for peace. Shot in 14 different countries including Iraq and the U.S.A., the film subtly contrasts the difference between destruction and creativity. Six years in the making, this truly independent production without any budget has been made possible through collaboration with other film-makers and a passion for peace and humanity.

01hr : 01mins
By: Eric Bednarski | CA

On the 19th of January, 1942, in Nazi occupied Poland, Mieczysław (Mietek) Bednarski, an officer in the Polish resistance, was arrested in Warsaw, Poland. He would spend the next nine months in Nazi custody, six of them in the Nazi-German concentration camp of Auschwitz. In this historical documentary, based on excerpts of the diary Bednarski wrote after being released, a wartime story is told, and the phenomenon of correspondence from Auschwitz is evoked.

By: Ken Miller | NL

WHAT IS THE FACE OF WAR? FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS, the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers waged a civil war over demands for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island. By the time the Tigers were defeated in May of 2009, over 100,000 people had died in the war. UNHOLY GROUND explores the impact of the war on one village on the eastern front line of the conflict. On September 18, 1999, a group of Tamil Tigers entered the Sinhalese Buddhist village of Gonagala and killed 54 people, including 12 children. The attack came just days after the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed a Tamil village in the north, killing 22 people, including two children. THE FILM FOCUSES ON THE EXPERIENCES of six survivors of the Gonagala massacre. It gives a human face to Sri Lanka's civil war, and explores the nature of war-related loss. It also captures the role of Buddhism in helping survivors come to terms with the impact of the massacre on their lives.

By: RSA | GB

With India and Pakistan in constant conflict over the region of Kashmir, Muhammad Arif Urfi, a renowned reporter from the Pakistan side of Kashmir, and Mohammad Irfan Dar, co-founder of Red Stone Films, share their thoughts on possibilities for a peaceful communal coexistence, as well as the role that British Indian and Pakistani communities could play in supporting such a peace process. They also draw upon personal experiences in filming within conflict zones and the impact it has upon their desire for a peaceful future. With thanks to Laura Melchiade, Ameya Kilara and Tahir Aziz and the staff at Conciliation Resources Peace Group, who support work of Muhammad Arif Urfi and Mohammad Irfan Dar and helped made this film possible.



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