May-June - Cinema for Peace Foundation
Newsletter May/June 2011
Cinema for Peace Comes to Cannes Film Festival
Dear Friends, Partners and Patrons of CINEMA FOR PEACE,
So much has happened in the world since our last newsletter and as always, the Cinema for Peace Foundation
is working hard to use the power of film to draw attention to the most pressing issues of our time.
This issue includes following topics:
Cinema for Peace Honorary Dinner, Cannes with Sean Penn & Friends
Cinema for Peace Special Screening: “Restrepo – One Platoon, One Year, One Valley”
School Screening of The Wave
Call for Donation: Genocide Film Library Bosnia
We hope you find our newsletter informative in keeping you up-to-date with the foundation’s activities. We
would be happy to supply more detailed information about issues regarding the foundation upon your
request. Please feel free to contact our office at + 49 (0)30 76 77 525 11 or [email protected] We
look forward to your comments, ideas and thoughts.
Jaka Bizilj and the Cinema for Peace Team
Cinema for Peace Honorary Dinner,
with Sean Penn & Friends
Cinema for Peace held its inaugural Cannes event on Wednesday May 18th, with a
dinner at the Carlton Hotel Grand Salon, where Sean Penn’s humanitarian work in Haiti
was acknowledged. The event raised over $700,000 for the J/P Haitian Relief
Organization through a combination of donations, pledges and an auction. Additionally
the Cinema for Peace Foundation utilised this platform for the first time at the Cannes
Film Festival to inform about its work and invited the guests to participate and support
The event was sponsored by Salus Alpha, Giorgio Armani and Maybach. In addition to
Penn, the following celebrities and notables attended: Roberta Armani, Naomi
Campbell, Harvey Weinstein, Rosario Dawson, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio,
Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Ryan Gosling, and Uma Thurman.
Robert De Niro & Sean Penn
Sean Penn was acknowledged at the event for his continuing commitment in Haiti
through the J/P Haitian Relief Organization which provides relief efforts in that
stricken country. During the dinner he said: “Norman Mailer once said this will be
the first century that mankind won't complete. I don't agree. But it will be the first
century that we're going to know in our lifetime what the outcomes of our action or
inaction will be. We're either going to be proud publicly or be ashamed publicly."
Liam Dunaway O'Neill, Faye
Dunaway, Sean Penn, Hopper
Jaka Bizilj, Robert De Niro & Grace
Roberta Armani &
Harvey Weinstein &
Penn’s speech at the Honorary Dinner in Cannes
It was an incredible year so far. What I like to say at first is that I am very
thankful to Jaka because of his generous offer to fly Khaled in, not only
tonight but as well at the Festival in Berlin. And I want to thank you, Khaled,
for your incredibly moving speech in Berlin which I want to encourage you
all to look up on Youtube because Khaled Nabawy spoke at the Cinema for
Peace Gala in Berlin and made about 2000 people’s faces wet.
There is something about the Arab spring that has proven to us that we
didn’t make a mistake if we had children, because they are going to grow up
in one of the first eras, certainly in my lifetime, where principle is strategy.
The earthquake in Haiti was a devastating moment and the Tsunami and earthquake in Japan was an
equally devastating moment and it is very easy to find funding to serve the people in the immediate
aftermaths of these events. But there really is only one devastation we can do something about, which
is poverty. Poverty is the only issue. Everything else comes from poverty, and there is enough money in
the world, enough will and there is enough food in the world to end poverty and this is a mathematical
fact. So being at the Cannes Film Festival I value film greatly and what film can do. Cinema for Peace is
such a great example of what embraces that, which is so important. Film is a big medicine. What we
do, what you do is important… .
In Haiti all the money that came in so far has made an impact. There is a lot of controversy about
the way in which it is spent, there is a lot of frustration. Try a country with no infrastructure, where at
five pm the only people left in the government buildings are the committed service workers, because
offices closed at four and all of them were dead in 60 seconds. Everyone there that functions has
lost somebody very close to them. The ministries are completely understaffed. And they have to take
the lead, the government has to take the lead, not the United Nations. The United Nations and the
NGOs, like us, are in support of something that ultimately has to be autonomous, that has to be
Why Haiti tonight? First of all because most of the people in this room can afford to give that
donation to Japan and still give that donation to Haiti. Haiti is a very containable enterprise: It has
about nine million black people on half an island. Nine million people without the natural resources
that we currently use to poison the atmosphere. But with all of the resources to create the green
technologies, with all of the will and the endless hope, they are at a crucial moment of courage and
survival right now. You know that in the United States of America we have a lot of things to corrupt
our elections so the Haitian election wasn’t perfect, but let me tell you as someone who has been
there, it is not my place to take a position in Haitian politics, but this is the man they have elected,
President. Martelli. There is a dynamic leader in that country now, his ministries have to be built. I
don’t want to take anything away from President Préval. He cared deeply about his country but he
was a lame duck president in the first place. Finally there are project plans that international
companies can count on to have continuity. There is an invigoration in spirit because the people
said: “We want this guy!” So for the very first time in a year and a half in Haiti I think this can
But there is a problem; it is very difficult to sell the unsexy. Well I want to give it a try. I am fairly practiced
at it. We got two choices, because shame relies on stimulus. You don’t want to respond to a problem,
you want to prevent it. Prevention is a hard thing to sell. Right now everything that matters in this kind of
work is about sustainability and the autonomy of people. But you can’t rely on clichés like: “Don’t give
them fish, teach them to fish.” Because there has got to be a few fish there to fish. Haiti needs a boost.
We need to be that boost. Right now the government itself and most of the international organizations
and a large part of J/P HRO are in the reconstruction business. But we are also about to face the weather,
the hurricane season approaches. The money is starting to come in. The organizations have gotten their
equilibrium. Now Haiti can become an example that helps every other place in need. For us Americans it
is an hour and a half from Miami so we must do it. Right now, if I want money to go there, in the
neighbourhoods and remove rubble and demolish buildings, to start to build permanent housing, that is
restricted funds. There are six hundred thousand men, women and children, even babies in ten camps
facing the hurricane season. These are the ones who had the least options to be relocated and we work
very aggressively to give them better options.
There is no predeployed water, there is no predeployed cholera medication for when the rains come.
There are no tarps, there is basically the money for emergency relief which has to work hand in hand with
sustainable development. This money, this prevention can only happen with you. Norman Mailer once
said: “This will be the first century that mankind may not complete.” I don't
agree. But I think it is pretty clear that information, knowledge is moving so
fast that what you do to prevent problems and to give hope to the hopeless,
what you do to raise it all up into a better world, you going to know it in our
lifetime. We are going to be proud publicly or ashamed publicly and die with
either choice. I very much want to thank Jaka. Thank you so much, you are a
machine and a great person, thank you Cinema for Peace and Ella, Roberta
and Giorgio Armani, Salus Alpha and Maybach.
Speech by Cannes Festival Director Thierry Frémaux
Bonjour a tous et bienvenue!
I am very honoured to be here with all of you and especially with my friend Sean. Cinema and Peace
are two words we like and at the same time they are the two words which stand for the origin of the
Cannes Film Festival, for when the idea was to create a new dialogue between people through cinema
and through art. And I hope that we are still following that idea. I do believe that film creates an
opportunity to get informed about what is happening all over the world. In this year we show the
films of Jafar Panahi and Mohammed Rasoulof. We do that because they are almost in jail but we
also do that because they set an example for all the artists and filmmakers who are in jail or work
under difficulties all over the world.
I am very proud to see Sean coming back to the festival. We saw each other two years ago but I
remember it as it would have been yesterday. I almost feel guilty doing my job here in Europe for
my festival and then seeing you and how involved you are in Haiti. The first time I noticed your
engagement was when I saw the titles of your first movie “The Indian Runner”. You dedicated your
movie to John Cassavetes. I remember I thought at that time: “This man has something that
connects him with history”. And I want all of you to help Sean in his fight in Haiti. I want to thank
you for returning to the festival, Sean, and how happy I am to be your friend and with you I like to
follow the political discussions of the world. So don’t feel guilty. But then, feeling guilty is
sometimes good. So get your credit cards out because at this point good ideas and films are not
enough for what we have to do in Haiti. Il faut payer ce soir!
Speech by Egyptian Actor Khaled Nabawy
Nabawy in Cannes
Ladies and Gentlemen,
when I was asked to talk about my friend Sean Penn I wasn’t
sure where to start. Shall I start with his great talent in our
profession? But then again it doesn’t need my testimony
about that. Or shall I talk about the great human being he is,
the man who believes that if you do not defeat poverty you
will die ashamed? The man that stayed in a tent for weeks
and months until he saw the life rise again in Haiti?
Then I decided to talk about my friend Sean Penn and I am
sure that all of you know about the Egyptian revolution as
much as you probably don’t know what is going on behind
the scenes. Here is a short story about how my friend Sean
got involved: You know that at the night of the 28th of January, which was the biggest day of our
revolution, they put down the internet and the mobile network. They shut down everything to make
us disconnected but they couldn’t shut down our will and our beliefs.
As soon as the internet came back I found an email from my friend Sean saying: “Give me a signal
that you and your family are okay and that your mobile is in your possession. I will get you out of
the country just let me know where, how and when.” But I wouldn’t leave. Still I thought after all his
worries I owe him a daily report and I texted him every day. And on the 10th of February I sent him
a message: “We made it. We are free. The guy is
going to step down tonight. Just watch.” (…) This is
truly an event for humanity. This event shows how to
live for others not only for yourself. Sean, I know that
you will have a long, long life and after this long,
long life you will never die ashamed. As a symbol for
that I brought you a little gift. It is a pin with the
Egyptian flag and the sign of the Egyptian revolution.
We made it!
Cinema for Peace Special Screening in Berlin:
“Restrepo - One Platoon, One Year, One
Photographer Tim Hetherington died nearly one month ago, while he was reporting about the
battle of Misrata between Libyan Rebels and troops of Colonel Gaddafi. His work already made him
cover many conflicts, from the civil wars in western Africa to the military intervention in
Afghanistan. Together with correspondent Sebastian Junger, he spent one year in Afghanistan with
an U.S. Army Platoon in the Korengal valley, which the soldiers called the “valley of death”.
The result of their work was an Oscar-nominated documentary called Restrepo. In the film, the
political dimension of this conflict moves to the background as much as possible, to focus on the
everyday experience of the common soldier, or as they call themselves, the grunt. The viewer is
confronted with the grief and agony as well as with the rush of adrenaline and almost euphoric
behaviour of these very young soldiers during a fire fight.
While the soldiers returning home sometimes feel like their
whole “reason d’être” – secure the survival of the platoon has been taken away, the spectator is left reasoning about
the whole sense of this war. In this war, the lives of these
young individuals is in great danger and exposes them to
enormous psychological burdens, that hunts their minds
even after they returned home safely.
To start the CINEMA FOR PEACE SPECIAL SCREENINGS and to memorize the passed away war
correspondent Tim Hetherington this award-winning documentary was screened on Monday, May
30th, 2011 in Berlin (Kino Central) and on June 6th, 2011 in Hamburg (Abaton Kino).
School Screening of “The Wave”
On May 9th the Cinema for Peace Foundation
staged a screening for 200 high school
students in Berlin. The screening presented
the movie “The Wave” by Dennis Gansel. The
film is about a high school teacher's unusual
experiment to demonstrate to his students
what life is like under a dictatorship. The
experiment spins horribly out of control when
he forms a social unit with a life of its own.
interesting discussions with and among the pupils concerning their personal experience with
mobbing and exclusion in everyday life. Dennis Gansel, the filmmaker, as well as a spokesperson of
an NGO counselling schools and other institution how to prevent racist ideas from spreading, were
willing to join the discussion that followed the screening, which they lead together with two
students from the Friedrich Ebert Gymnasium.
Director Dennis Gansel also told a personal story from his own
past that motivated him to make the movie. When he was a
teenager, he was the only one skating. Unfortunately there was
only one half pipe in his town. This was the place for young
radicals to meet and spend their days. But instead of facing them
he kept a low profile and didn’t get in their way, a fact he
nowadays deeply regrets. Today he is convinced that people need
to speak up so that ignorance in order to prevail destructive
When the students were being asked if they experienced similar
situation or if they were being mobbed because of their origin or
anything else that makes them different from the norm, many of
them raised their hands. This fact shows that much more
screenings like this need to be done to raise the awareness
among today students.
Our Project “Safekeeping Darfur” aims to provide protection for people in under siege areas.
By installing satellite cameras and other equipment we are collecting evidence of human
rights violations, which bring the criminals to responsibility and discourage them from
Currently, project coordinator Tomo Kriznar is in Darfur again and informed us about the
current situation and about the status of our project “Safekeeping Darfur”. With the support
of the Cinema for Peace Foundation 30 more mini video cameras and two satellite internet
antennas were provided for the project and are soon delivered to the trouble spot.
Meanwhile, the general situation in Southern Darfur is escalating again and the region seems
to be on the brink of civil war, again. Enough project reports: “The latest analysis of satellite
images by the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, confirms reports of Sudan Armed Forces-led
attacks on Abyei, including the razing of one southern-aligned base north of Abyei town. The
project, which has consistently documented military build-up in and around the Abyei area,
says that northern occupation of the disputed border area was premeditated.
According to SSP, images show the destruction of a southern-aligned base at Todach by
tanks or other armored vehicles, fires burning at the town of Dungop, and the presence of
northern attack aircrafts and bombers capable of reaching Abyei town within an hour. Images
also show that a former Misseriya encampment at Goli has largely been vacated, confirming
reports of Misseriya movements further south.”
Genocide Film Library Bosnia – Please Donate Now
We kindly would like to ask for your support for the
Genocide Film Library Bosnia, a project to further peace
and the reconciliation process in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Following the example of the audiovisual library of the
Shoah Foundation, the Genocide Film Library Bosnia
shall over a period of five years gather 10,000 interviews
with survivors and witnesses of the Bosnian War in a
freely accessible online library. The Genocide Film
Library Bosnia shall provide study material for schools,
universities, museums and other institutions. The film material will also be the basis for a film documentary.
The success of the project heavily depends on the financial support of our partners. Finding survivors of the
genocide who are willing to give their testimonies and travel eventually long ways, gathering, recording and
arranging the interview material and developing a feature length documentary movie is a task which will not
only consume strong human commitment and dedication but also monetary resources. For a period of twelve
month the annual funds require a minimum amount of 250.000 EURO, i.e. more than 1 Million EURO for the
completion of the project.
We also need your support for our other projects, such as Film Against AIDS in South Africa and for the
Cinema for Peace School Film Catalogue. Thank you!
CINEMA FOR PEACE Foundation
Account Number: 809666100
BIN: 10070024, Deutsche Bank
Reference: Genocide Film Library Bosnia, your Name