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Cinema for Peace Berlin 2014

Nelson Mandela, Pussy Riot & Syria

BERLIN – The annual Cinema for Peace Gala will take place on Monday at the Konzerthaus in Berlin. Besides awarding the most valuable films and documentaries of the year, the evening will highlight a number of pressing global issues.

Uma Thurman, Catherine Deneuve, Ennio Morricone, Ornella Muti and Sir Christopher Lee serve as the honorary chairs of the event. Furthermore, Sir Christopher Lee, who is the first international actor whose movies grossed ten billion US Dollars, will receive an honorary award for his long-standing work for UNICEF and Cinema for Peace.

Honorary guests include the Chief Prosecutor of  the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, the Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, Bianca Jagger, the Italian UN Special Ambassador Al Bano and the mastermind of the Fall of the Berlin Wall  Hans-Dietrich Genscher aside the  former French President Valéry Giscard  d’Estaing, who is the President of the Jury and will also remind how 100 years after World War I former enemies such as France and Germany with millions of murdered victims have become European allies and friends.

Celebrating Our Former Honorary Patron Nelson Mandela

The Cinema for Peace Gala will celebrate  the life of Nelson Mandela and his fight against Apartheid and for human rights in South Africa. 

Excerpts from "Mandela's Children" by grandson Kweku Mandela will be shown for the very first time to a global audience. The documentary includes Mandela's last interview and never-before seen footage with his grand-grandchildren posing him questions, asking him for example how he fell in love for the first time or if he liked school.

We invite you to watch the following trailers on Nelson Mandela:
  • Cinema for Peace Nominee 2014 MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is a depiction of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. It is based on South African President Nelson Mandela's autobiography of the same name.
  • INVICTUS by Clint Eastwood tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandelajoined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid.
  • CRY FREEDOM by Richard Attenborough recounts how South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country after  attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend the black activist Steve Biko.

Fighting for Peace in Syria

Cinema for Peace is trying to raise awareness for the killings of innocent civilians in conflict zones like Syria and other countries with films such as “Dirty Wars”, "The Kill Team" and "Syria Ground Zero". Previously we have campaigned for the end of the conflict in Syria through petitions, emergency screenings and a field trip, and suggested that Russia demand an Olympic Truce in Syria to bring a ceasefire to protect the civilians during the Winter Games. This demand was also echoed by a number of global influencers in an open petition to President Putin on Friday by the likes of Bishop Tutu.

In an encouraging small step this weekend women and children from the besieged city of Homs were allowed to leave.

The 19-year-old Syrian student activist Ala'a Basatneh from the documentary #chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on A Dictator, which is nominated for Cinema for Peace Justice Award, will take part in the gala. Sir Christopher Lee will also be reading letters from children in Syria on stage.

We invite you to watch the following trailers on the conflict in Syria:

  • Cinema for Peace nominee 2014 GROUND ZERO: SYRIA by Robert King is a compilation of photojournalist and videographer King’s footage into a series of raw, largely unedited vignettes that present a snapshot of the ancient city of Aleppo as it crumbles and burns while its citizens are killed indiscriminately.
  • Cinema for Peace nominee 2014 AGONY OF ALEPPO by Marcel Mettelsiefen is a report from the city of Aleppo in Syria under the grips of the civil conflict.
  • Cinema for Peace nominee 2014 #CHICAGOGIRL: THE SOCIAL NETWORK TAKES ON A DICTATOR by Joe Piscatella tells how a 19-year-old student named Ala'a Basatneh has been helping to coordinate the Syrian revolution from a suburb of Chicago since 2011, armed with all imaginable social media.

Human Rights in Russia

Celebrating Olympic Ideals / Release of Pussy Riot

As the controversial Sochi Winter Olympics began on Friday amid heightened security, several human rights groups and heads of state around the world have called for boycott due to Russia's anti-gay laws, while Russia's deputy prime minister said in a bizarre comment that athletes are free to express their views and their sexuality "as long as they leave the kids alone". 

Russia has improved some of its human rights act in the run-up to the games by releasing political prisoners such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot punk band members, but concerns still remain high. 

A documentary about Pussy Riot and their court proceedings is nominated at Cinema for Peace 2014 and the members of the punk band will take part in the gala.

Among the guests at the Gala will also be Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the legendary diplomat that facilitated the release of Khodorkovsky and who 25 years ago was the mastermind in bringing down the Berlin Wall.

"The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." - The Olympic Charter

We invite you to watch the following trailers on Russia and reconciliation through sport:

  • Cinema for Peace nominee 2014 PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin. The film follows the court cases on the Russian feminist/anti-Putinist punk-rock protest group Pussy Riot that was jailed for a performance in a Moscow cathedral.
  • CHARIOTS OF FIRE by Hugh Hudson recounts how two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.
  • COOL RUNNINGS by Jon Turteltaub is a film based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team trying to make it to the winter Olympics.
  • AS ONE by Hyeon-seong Moon is the cinematic retelling of the first ever post-war Unified Korea sports team, hastily formed to participate in the 41st World Table Tennis Championships in 1991.
  • KHODORKOVSKY by Cyril Tuschi tells about the richest Russian that challenges President Putin. Putin warns him. But Khodorkovsky comes back to Russia knowing that he will be imprisoned, once he returns.

We also invite you to watch the following trailers of a selection of the Cinema for Peace 2014 Nominees:
  • WADJDA by Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia's first female director (right), recounts how an enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.
  • 12 YEARS A SLAVE by Steve McQueen recounts how in the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery in the 1800s.
  • THE BUTLER tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man's life and family.
  • FOR THOSE WHO CAN TELL NO TALES by Jasmila Zbanic recounts how an Australian tourist discovers the silent legacy of wartime atrocities when she arrives in a seemingly idyllic little town on the border of Bosnia and Serbia.
  • WALESA. MAN OF HOPE by Andrzej Wajda is a depiction of the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Poland's Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa, as events in the 1970s lead to a peaceful revolution.
Here is the full list of Cinema for Peace 2014 Nominees:

12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen

An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker
Danis Tanović

Dallas Buyers Club
Jean-Marc Vallée

For Those Who Can Tell No Tales
Jasmila Zbanic

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Justin Chadwick

Stephen Frears

The Butler
Lee Daniels

Haifaa Al-Mansour

Walesa. Man of Hope
Andrzej Wajda


Alias Ruby Blade
Alex Meillier

Children on the Frontline
Marcel Mettelsiefen, Anthony Wonke

Dirty Wars
Rick Rowley

Everyday Rebellion
Arash Riahi, Arman Riahi

Ground Zero: Syria
Robert King

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin

Recycling Medea
Asteris Kutulas

The Family
Stefan Weinert

The Kill Team
Dan Krauss

The Missing Picture
Rithy Panh

The Square
Jehane Noujaim


Big Men
Rachel Boynton

Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Expedition: Sumatra
Philippe Cousteau Jr.

The Human Experiment
Don Hardy Jr., Dana Nachman

John Curran


#chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator
Joe Piscatella

Ai WeiWei - The Fake Case
Andreas Johnsen

Five Years
Stefan Schaller

Outlawed in Pakistan
Habiba Nosheen, Hilke Schellmann