DER Documentary

Voices for Peace: Four Films on Grassroots Activism

Voices for Peace: Four Films on Grassroots Activism previews available below

by Robbie Leppzer
color, 92 min, 1984/1989/1990




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In this compilation DVD, award-winning independent documentary filmmaker Robbie Leppzer chronicles grassroots activists from a cross-section of races, religions, and ages working together to stop war.

Choose Life (color, 8 min, 1984)
On June 12, 1982, over a million people gathered in New York City to call for an end to the nuclear arms race. Presented in a fast-paced, up-beat style, Choose Life captures the feeling and spirit of this historic day. "One Earth, One Humanity, One Future" reads a banner, as the camera pans across a colorful sea of people marching in front of the United Nations on their way to gather in Central Park. Americans from all walks of life are asked why they came to march: an elderly man, a union organizer, a high school student, a mother with young children. Their answers come straight from the heart: "We're here because we want to live." "It's an issue of survival." "Unless the people take to the streets, the governments will not act."

Call of the Peace Pagoda (color, 28 min, 1989) launch preview watch a preview
In 1945, Nichidatsu Fujii, a Japanese Buddhist monk, witnessed the devastation of Hiroshima and had a spiritual vision for world peace. Fujii's vision was to create peace shrines around the world to awaken a spirit of nonviolence. Since the 1950s, the monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji, the Buddhist religious order founded by Fujii, have constructed over 70 of these shrines in six different countries. They are known as Peace Pagodas. Call of the Peace Pagoda is an intimate portrait of the Japanese and American Buddhists who live at the first Peace Pagoda built in the United States, located in rural western Massachusetts. This documentary chronicles two months in the life of this unique spiritual community — a time in which they faced numerous tests of faith.

Straight Talk (color, 31 min, 1990) launch preview watch a preview
No one understands war and the military better than a veteran. Yet many of America's young people learn about war only from Hollywood, politicians, and recruiters. Straight Talk features five Vietnam veterans speaking to high school students about their first-hand experiences in war. The veterans talk about their decisions to enter the military and share stories of combat and noncombat situations in Vietnam. The documentary also offers glimpses of current high school military recruitment practices — the landing of an army helicopter on a high school football field and the screening of a military promotional video. The recruiters' pitches to students contrast sharply with the poignant and revealing testimonies of the veterans. Passing on their hard-earned wisdom to the next generation of military-age youth, the veterans of Straight Talk share a compelling perspective on war that needs to be heard.

Voices for Peace (color, 25 min, 2001) launch preview watch a preview
Nobel Peace prize laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquivel, along with various journalists, authors and human rights activists raise critical questions about U.S. foreign and military policy following the September 11 attacks.

“A filmmaker unafraid to go against the tide.” — Rhonda Stewart, The Boston Globe
Voices for Peace brings you up close to an extraordinary mosaic of people — Americans young and old, black and white, Nobel Laureates from Ireland and Argentina, assembled in Washington and New York, in colorful array, speaking from the heart about terrorism, violence, and war. The film makes a wonderful introduction to a classroom discussion, especially because it presents to students points of view they would never otherwise get a chance to hear. For activists, Voices for Peace is an inspirational boost, letting those who oppose war know they are not alone.” — Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
“Not overly burdened with the philosophical and doctrinal, Call of the Peace Pagoda excellently captures the contemplation in action that characterizes the Nipponzan Myohoji movement. As the film shows, their practice is not simply another activism, but activism rooted in a spirituality. I am sure that the film will generate exciting classroom discussion on many different aspects of Buddhism, religion and politics, society, and more.” — Jamie Hubbard, professor of Buddhist Studies, Smith College
Choose Life recalls in an exciting way that historic day in 1982 when an unprecedented gathering of a million people took place in Central Park in New York City to call for a freeze on the production and testing of nuclear weapons. The blending of music and spontaneous interviews is enormously effective in conveying the spirit of that demonstration. I hope that young people in schools all over America will see this film and be inspired by it.” — Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
Straight Talk is a powerful statement about the real nature of war.” — Eugene Carroll, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Deputy Director, Center for Defense Information
“[Straight Talk] Painful and critical observations shared by Vietnam War veterans. Those who have survived combat know the real truth about war.” — Lon Grahnke, Chicago Sun-Times

This DVD is a part of Turning Tide: The Robbie Leppzer Collection

TV Broadcasts
Nationally Broadcast on Free Speech TV (Choose Life, Call of the Peace Pagoda, Straight Talk, Voices For Peace)
Nationally Broadcast in Canada on the CBC (Call of the Peace Pagoda)
WGBY-TV - PBS, Springfield, MA (Call of the Peace Pagoda)

Related Resources
Turning Tide Productions

View more photos on www.flickr.com

Related Films
Bury The Spear!
Peacing it Together



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