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Cinema for Peace Berlin 2014 – Celebrating Nelson Mandela, Heroes and The Most Valuable Films of the Year


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Honoree  Sir Christopher Lee (91), honorary chair Uma Thurman, founder Jaka Bizilj, nominees Maria Aljochina and Nadescha Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot

BERLIN – The annual Cinema for Peace Gala honored  the most valuable movies and documentaries of the year and the lifetime achievements of former Cinema & Sports for Peace Honorary Patron Nelson Mandela and Sir Christopher Lee. The Most Valuable Films of the Year were "12 Years A Slave", "Big Men", "#ChicagoGirl" and 10 documentaries, including "Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer".

kweku_uma4.jpgThe Gala was dedicated to Nelson Mandela. Kweku Mandela presented for the first time ever the last interview with his grandfather and never before seen footage of Mandela's conversation with his grandchildren. Honorary chair Catherine Deneuve  said: "He was probably the greatest role model for our world. He taught us that skin color, race or sexual orientation make no difference."
Former French President Valery Giscard D'Éstaing presented as the President of the Jury the Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Movie of the Year to "12 Years a Slave". In his speech he reminded about the horrors and lessons of the First and Second World War, where almost 100 million people were killed, emphasizing how the former deadly enemies France and Germany have become European friends. D'Éstaing stressed our obligation to make wars impossible and to defend our moral principles which are threatened by the illegal use of killing drones and mass surveillance.    

Sir Christopher Lee’s decades-long engagement for peace and children’s rights was awarded with a Honorary Award to an emotional, nearly 10 minute standing ovation accompanied by the music of Rule Britannia. Sir Christopher Lee has performed in an astonishing over 300 films with a gross of 10 billion USD, worked with nearly every major director in the film industry, and in the last decade became the ambassador for UNICEF and Cinema for Peace. During the evening he read a letter from a child in Syria: “My name is Aba. I’m 17 years old. [...] My bitter reality repeats itself every day, as my Syrian dream evaporates. My heart bleeds every day and my dreams are shattered. I used to be happy. I want peace to come back to my country, and I want all Syrians to be reunited. I hope that my dream will come true.”

Michael Barker, co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics and recipient of more than 100 Oscar nominations with his films, introduced the first female Arabian filmmaker Haifa al-Mansoor, director of the movie WADJDA, a film on women's rights that led the Saudi Arabian government to allowing females to ride bicycles. Barker also honored all nominees of the Cinema for Peace Most Valuble Documentary of the Year, saying: "I wish the Academy would do it this way – all nominees are the winners!" The award was shared among all of the ten nominees, while "Pussy Riot" made a statement on freedom: THE FAMILY, THE SQUARE, ALIAS RUBY BLADE, DIRTY WARS, THE MISSING PICTURE, PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER, THE KILL TEAM, EVERYDAY REBELLION, CHILDREN ON THE FRONTLINE and RECYCLING MEDEA.

pussyriot2.jpgHaving recently been released from a Russian prison, Pussy Riot members Nadescha Tolokonnikova and Maria Aljochina  also gave a press conference earlier in the day. There, after Cinema for Peace Founder Jaka Bizilj asked a question about how Nelson Mandela won the presidency after his release from prison and if something similar was intended, Pussy Riot announced that they would consider to run for office after starting their NGO for the rights of prisoners.

Tolokonnikova and Aljochina stated in their accepting remarks that they "want to speak for those who are currently imprisoned in Russia just for protesting against President Putin and because they wanted to have a fair election". They also visited a women's prison in Berlin, where they learned how in difference to Russian and American prisons the goal is to resocialize people instead of punishing them, so they are motivated to contribute to the society again after their release. This Scandinavian model contributes to the fact that their prison population is many times smaller than that of Russia (approximately 860 000) and the USA (more than 2 million!).

The Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Movie of the Year was 12 YEARS A SLAVE, whose director Steve McQueen emphasized the fact that there are still over 20 million slaves in the world today and that "slavery was never abolished, but it was deregulated".

alaa2.jpgThe Cinema for Peace Award for Justice was presented by the Senior Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Shamila Batohi, who in 1995 was part of a hit squad investigation task force in South Africa set up by Nelson Mandela. The award was presented to the #CHICAGOGIRL – Ala'a Basatneh, who is organizing opposition to Assad in Syria via the Internet from Chicago.  

Ala'a Basatneh said on stage that she had hoped "the film would show the world that the Syrian crisis isn't about those people over there fighting about things we shouldn't care about. With this award, I am so glad that this vision is realized. [...] And I am proud that together hopefully we are raising awareness to the Syrian crisis."

The International Green Film Award was presented to director Rachel Boynton and BIG MEN by the founder of Transparency International Peter Eigen, who described it as "a film taking us deep into the African oil industry in Ghana and Nigeria, delivering unparalleled insight into the ambition, greed and corruption that threaten to exacerbate Africa’s resource curse and leave more of its citizens behind."

ornella_muti2.jpgLaudation speakers also included Honorary Chair Ornella Muti, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger as well as Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, Honorary Chair of UNICEF.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
- Nelson Mandela










The winners and honorees of Cinema for Peace Berlin 2014:

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Cinema for Peace Berlin 2014

Honorary Award to NELSON MANDELA and LONG WALK TO FREEDOM

Justin Chadwick, Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Anant Singh

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Cinema for Peace Berlin 2014

Honorary Award to SIR CHRISTOPHER LEE

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Movie of the Year 2014

12 YEARS A SLAVE

Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

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Cinema for Peace Award for Justice 2014

#CHICAGOGIRL: THE SOCIAL NETWORK TAKES ON A DICTATOR

Joe Piscatella & Alaa Basatneh

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The International Green Film Award 2014

BIG MEN

Rachel Boynton

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

THE KILL TEAM

Dan Krauss, Linda Davis & Adam Winfield

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

THE FAMILY

Stefan Weinert

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

THE SQUARE

Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer & Khalid Abdalla, Ahmed Hassan

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

ALIAS RUBY BLADE

Alex Meillier, Tanya Meillier, Richard Keddie & Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Xanana Gusmao

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

DIRTY WARS

Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill, Anthony Arnove, Brenda Coughlin

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

THE MISSING PICTURE

Rithy Panh, Catherine Dussart

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER

Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin & Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

EVERYDAY REBELLION

Arash T. Riahi, Arman T. Riahi, Sabine Gruber, Michael Seeber, Hercli Bundi, Susanne Guggenberger

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

CHILDREN ON THE FRONTLINE

Marcel Mettelsiefen, Anthony Wonke

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

RECYCLING MEDEA

Asteris Kutulas, Klaus Salge

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Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2014

GROUND ZERO: SYRIA

Robert King
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