Does aspiring to a life of nonviolence include consideration of the individuality and inherent worth of nonhuman animals? According to Chicago’s Peace on Earth Film Festival, it surely does.
On February 27th, more than 300 people attended a standing-room-only screening of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home at the Chicago Cultural Center, and several dozen more waited patiently in line but unfortunately had to be turned away for lack of space. The festival gave our film a superb time slot, Saturday at 8:15 PM, and would later bestow upon it the Best Feature Documentary award.
Equally significant, the audience gave the film a standing ovation and offered their heartfelt appreciation during the Q&A that followed, and in their written comments that we collected after the screening. You can read a sampling of their responses in the right column of this newsletter, and watch a short video of the highlights of our participation in the festival here.
On Sunday afternoon, documentary subject Harold Brown participated in the festival’s Peacemakers’ Panel. The moderator opened and closed the event with a reference to Howard Lyman’s statement at the end of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, when he says:
“We are here, in my opinion, as homo sapiens on this planet to learn one thing. And that one thing is unconditional love. Not unconditional love just for humans, not unconditional love just for the environment, but unconditional love for our entire community on this planet.”
Harold built on this theme and spoke eloquently about what it means to practice the golden rule, as well as the need to embrace and educate--rather than judge and dismiss--those who are simply unaware of how their actions are impacting others.
Harold Brown, Will Williams
Fellow panelist Will Williams, a Viet Nam veteran and nationally known peace activist who is featured in the documentary The Good Soldier, picked up on the theme of the golden rule. He spoke of his study of history, which revealed to him how so many wars that we have considered justified had their roots in our failing at some point in the past to treat others as we would wish to be treated.
Judge Sophia H. Hall had come to the festival to share her work in the field of restorative justice, which seeks to replace the failed concepts of crime and punishment. She described how the fabric of community could be restored by bringing victims and victimizers together with a focus on restitution and reconciliation. She shared the idea of the “platinum rule,” which she defined as treating others not as we would wish to be treated, but as they would wish to be treated.
The embrace of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home by this visionary festival, which is devoted to a holistic model of working toward peace, was an inspiring experience for all of us involved in making the film. This festival’s diverse program helped us appreciate that while the path to peace may start in many places, and focus on many different issues, the destination is always the same: awakening conscience, protecting the innocent, and restoring personal, social and ecological balance. We thank executive director of the Peace on Earth Film Festival, Nick Angotti, as well as his fellow review committee members, Clayton Monical,
John D. Hancock, Dan Nurczyk, and Milissa Pacelli, for an unforgettable experience. We also extend our gratitude to Marla Rose and John Beske of EarthSave Chicago and Vadim Moskalin of ChicagoVeg for their help with publicity, which was instrumental in making this event such a success.
We are thrilled to find that, along with the peace community, a growing number of folks in the environmental community are now expressing interest in Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. Everything we have seen so far suggests that this film is capable of engaging and inspiring people from all walks of life who might previously have avoided or rejected the issues it explores. As we move into the next leg of our film festival run and work toward the film’s release on DVD, we are ever grateful to those whose support and encouragement made it possible for this film to be created, as well as those whose generosity will make it possible for us to realize its tremendous potential.
James LaVeck and Jenny Stein
Co-founders, Tribe of Heart
Left to right: Filmmakers Jenny Stein and James LaVeck,
film subject Harold Brown, associate producers
Kevin Smith and Eric Huang
Tribe of Heart needs your support now, more than ever, to keep the momentum moving and to develop the resources and support needed to launch the DVD, along with associated outreach programs. Please help us bring this incredible tool to people who are eager to put it to use in communities around the world!
Donations can be made online or mailed to:
Tribe of Heart, PO Box 149, Ithaca, NY 14851