Cinema for Peace
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The Cinema for Peace initiative aims to raise awareness for the social relevance of films and to make active use of the influence of movies and documentaries on the perception and resolution of global social, political and humanitarian challenges of our time. Since 2002, the Cinema for Peace initiative has been inviting members of the film community, humanitarian and human rights activists, as well as international public figures to its annual gala in Berlin to honor a selection of cinematic works on important humanitarian and environmental issues. The awards include: The Most Valuable Movie of the Year, The Most Valuable Documentary of the Year, The International Green Film Award, The Award for Justice, the International Human Rights Award and further Honorary Awards. In addition to bestowing awards, Cinema for Peace is also raising funds for the Cinema for Peace Foundation and other charities.
History as a forum for free speech
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Jaka Bizilj launched the Cinema for Peace initiative with the annual gala as a platform for communicating humanitarian, political and social issues through the medium of film. Bob Geldof described the awards gala as "the Oscars with brains". Since 2008, various projects initiated by the worldwide Cinema for Peace initiative are carried out by the charitable Cinema for Peace Foundation, based in Berlin, chaired unsalaried by Jaka Bizilj.
In 2003 Dustin Hoffman emphasized everyone’s moral responsibility and questioned the sense of going to war in Iraq. George Clooney honored the work of Cinema for Peace after receiving an award for the Most Valuable Movie of the Year for Good Night, and Good Luck in 2006: “I want to thank you for this award. It means a lot to me because last time I was there for Cinema for Peace a couple of years ago (just before the Iraq war), after walking in and coming home to the United States I was called a traitor to my own country (…) It made me a little angry and I wrote a film because of that – so you can honestly say that you were an active participant in us making this film.”
In his keynote speech in 2007, Richard Gere used the platform to remind the world not to forget about Tibet: “Any time China is dealt with, Tibet must be brought up… Every time you hear the word ´China´, think about Tibet. Think what you can do to help. It can be done.”
In his address in 2009, Mikhail Gorbachev reminded the world not to forget about the walls which still prevent the world of the urgently needed international and intercultural exchange and cooperation: "The Berlin Wall has gone into history. Sadly there are still many walls existing today: the wall of suspicion, of disbelief, the wall between the rich and the poor. People must be realistic and see these walls! If this faith, which made the Fall of the Wall possible, had not existed in 1989, the Wall would not have fallen (…) Therefore these walls must be shattered and especially the walls in the minds and hearts of people, which I consider most important."
At the Cinema for Peace Gala 2010, honorary chair Mikhail Gorbachev stated in announcing Crude the winner of the 2010 International Green Film Award: "I believe that cinema alone is capable of presenting the world with all its beauty but also with all of its dangers." And Leonardo DiCaprio added, "I wanted to give these people, these experts, these heroes of mine that devoted their lives to these (environmental) issues a forum in which to speak that was not reduced to a ten second sound bite in the media. Giving them an opportunity to express what they learned in their entire lifetimes. And that is the importance of this event here tonight. He also called in his appeal for more environmental dedication: “Solving the environmental crisis is our turning point; it is our next Berlin wall.”
At the tenth Cinema for Peace Gala in February 2011 Sean Penn received the Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for his work with the J/P Haitian Relief Organization from German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. In his acceptance speech, Penn reflected on the current situation in Haiti and articulated the need to take responsibility for our actions. "I think we are the first generation that is going to survive long enough to be accountable for its actions and its lack of actions. And what we are primarily accountable for is the fairness, the equality that disallows poverty on the planet." Kahlid Nabawy, who played in the Cinema for Peace Award nominated film, Fair Game with Penn, received a standing ovation for his speech on the recent revolution in Egypt, pointing out that though many were injured and even killed, the revolution was peaceful overall.
In addition to the annual Cinema for Peace Gala in Berlin the initiative also stages further special encounters in Europe, the USA and Africa, to draw media attention to current issues and major projects as well as to human rights defenders and further particularly dedicated personalities. Thus on 18 May 2011 Cinema for Peace held its first dinner at the Cannes Film Festival to honour the humanitarian work of Sean Penn in Haiti. At this occasion, together with Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Uma Thurman, Jane Fonda and Faye Dunaway about 700,000 U.S. dollars were raised for his / J / P Haitian relief organization. Overall, as by mid-2011 the Cinema for Peace platform was able to collect more than three million Euro for charitable purposes, as confirmed by external audit. All donation proceeds are published to ensure complete transparency. The costs of all events are funded by sponsors. Iniator Jaka Bizilj and his production company Star Entertainment have been acting as largest sponsor in the period from 2002 to 2011.
Cinema for Peace distributed the Bosnian Oscar winning war satire No Man's Land (2001 film) by Danis Tanovic. In 2014, Jaka Bizilj as the Founder of Cinema for Peace invited Pussy Riot to the Olympic Games in Sochi  and introduced them to Hollywood  and to Washington  in order to promote global Human rights responsibility and advocate a global Sanction List for Human rights offenders.
Committee and supporters
Among the Cinema for Peace chairs, speakers and committee members have been, among many others, Buzz Aldrin, Antonio Banderas, Deepak Chopra, George Clooney, Catherine Deneuve, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bob Geldof, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Elton John, Nicole Kidman, Sir Christopher Lee, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank, Wim Wenders, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Fatou Bensouda as well as Nobel Peace Award Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev.
Among the many beneficiaries and partners of the Cinema for Peace activities are:
- the Cinema for Peace Foundation,
- the United Nations agencies UNICEF and UNIFEM,
- Sean Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization,
- Richard Gere's "Healing the Divide" and the International Campaign for Tibet, which was initiated in a meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2004,
- "Schools for Africa" by UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation,
- the Leonardo DiCaprio Fund http://www.leonardodicaprio.org/,
- the Elton John Aids Foundation http://www.ejaf.org/,
- amfAR http://www.amfar.org/,
- the Gorbachev Foundation,
- Amnesty International
- Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project
- Eastern Congo Initiative
- and the Human Rights Film Network.
The annual Cinema for Peace Awards seek to promote valuable films and attract worldwide attention to important social issues covered in films. The Awards include: The Most Valuable Film of the Year, The Most Valuable Documentary of the Year, The International Green Film Award, The Award for Justice, the International Human Rights Film Award (in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network, as well as various Honorary Awards.
The Most Valuable Film of the Year and the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year are judged by a committee of more than 100 filmmakers and humanitarians each year. The Honorary Award is dedicated each year to a person for outstanding social and/or political or environmental achievements.
In 2007, Cinema for Peace launched together with Amnesty International the “International Human Rights Film Award” and in 2009, together with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, in The Hague, the “Cinema for Peace Award for Justice”. Cinema for Peace has awarded the "International Green Film Award" beginning in 2009, to honor members of the film community for an environmental movie or for outstanding achievements in raising awareness for green issues. The first Green Film Award Winner presented by Mikhail Gorbachev was Leonardo DiCaprio for his film The 11th Hour (film). In 2010, the ‘International Green Film Award’ was presented by Mikhail Gorbachev and Leonardo DiCaprio to Crude (2009 film) and director Joe Berlinger. The 2011 International Green Film Award was presented by Opel Project Earth to "Jane's Journey", directed by Lorenz Knauer for his film exhibiting Jane Goodall's travels in her fight to preserve endangered species around the world.
Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for Mikhail Gorbachev
On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 2009, former President Mikhail Gorbachev received the Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for his central role in ending the Cold War and paving the way for a peaceful reunification process in Germany. At the Cinema for Peace Honorary Dinner at the China Club in Berlin, Bob Geldof, Plácido Domingo and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German Foreign Minister during the reunification era, were the laudation speakers. The dinner was chaired among others by arts patrons Dieter Rosenkranz and Alexander Lebedev. Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks International Bill Roedy presented on this occasion the MTV Free Your Mind Award to President Gorbachev.
Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for Sean Penn
Two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn was awarded the Cinema for Peace Honorary Award in 2011 for his humanitarian work in New Orleans and Haiti. In January 2010, he founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization to aid victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for Angelina Jolie
"In the Land of Blood and Honey", the directorial debut of Angelina Jolie, was honored with the "Honorary Award for Opposing War and Genocide" at the Cinema for Peace Berlin 2012. The film tells the story of the love between a Serbian man and a Muslim woman, who realize, upon the outbreak of the Bosnian war, they not only stand on opposing sides, but the man is now a soldier and the woman a prisoner of war. "In the Land of Blood and Honey" depicts the horrific violence of the civil war and makes a call for peace. Although today the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been rectified, the film sends a powerful message.
Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron received the Cinema for Peace Honorary Award 2013 for her commitment against the spread of HIV/AIDS among young South Africans. The South African actress and United Nations Messenger of Peace is the founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), which calls for medical education and battles against the spread of HIV.
Cinema for Peace Award for Opposing Anti-Semitism
Cinema for Peace Berlin 2013 highlighted the artistic and social fight against anti-Semitism in Germany and beyond. The Cinema for Peace Honorary Award for Opposing Anti-Semitism was presented to actress Veronica Ferres, Charlotte Knobloch and Marga Spiegel, who all have been fighting against anti-semitism and xenophobia for many years. The award was presented by German Rabbi Daniel Alter, who was the victim of an attack motivated by religious hatred on the streets of Berlin in 2012.
Award winners 2002–2014
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to 12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen.
- Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year to Alias Ruby Blade by Alex Meillier, Children on the Frontline by Marcel Mettelsiefen and Anthony Wonke, Dirty Wars by Rick Rowley, Everyday Rebellion by Arash Riahi and Arman Riahi, Ground Zero: Syria by Robert King, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, Recycling Medea by Asteris Kutulas, The Family by Stefan Weinert, The Kill Team by Dan Krauss, The Missing Picture by Rithy Panh, The Square by Jehane Noujaim.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Justice to #chicagoGirl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator by Joe Piscatella.
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award to Big Men by Rachel Boynton.
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to the late Nelson Mandela.
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to the filmmakers of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Sir Christopher Lee.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to Lincoln for showing how sacrifice and strong will can bring justice to a nation for generations to come.
- Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year to Searching For Sugarman for showing the power of music and its ability to elevate hardships to a universal level and to “The Gatekeepers” for attempting to change the understanding of the Mideast conflict by featuring the people whose job it was to try to manage it.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Justice to NO for a captivating creative and persistent fight for political freedom within an oppressive system of injustice and “Class Dismissed” for revealing the pressure Malala and her family went through prior to the attempted assassination of this extremely brave Pakistani schoolgirl.
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network to Call Me Kuchu, the late David Kato and Frank Mugisha for showing courage in the fight for human rights and equality amongst severe discrimination and danger
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award to “Bitter Seeds” for shedding light on the plight of farmers in the grips of global agribusiness companies.
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Charlize Theron and her Africa Outreach Project for keeping African youth safe from AIDS/HIV
- Cinema for Peace Award for Opposing Anti-Semitism to Veronica Ferres, Marga Spiegel and Charlotte Knobloch.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to “In the Land of Blood and Honey“ For fighting war and genocide.
- Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year to “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (West Memphis Three)“ for saving lives and expunging wrongful convictions.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Justice to “Justice for Sergei” for showing the murder of Sergei Magnitsky and to “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator” for bringing a murderous dictator to jail.
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network to “The Lady and Aung San Suu Kyi” for presenting the personal story of Aung San Suu Kyi.
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award to “Burning in the Sun” for showing how to end extreme poverty with solar energy.
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Angelina Jolie and cast for: “In the Land of Blood and Honey” for fighting war and genocide.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to Of Gods and Men for showing the importance of community and morality
- Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Documentary of the Year to Skateistan – Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul for displaying the unifying power of sports in a war-torn country
- Cinema for Peace Award for Justice to Blood in the Mobile for uncovering the connection between the mobile phone industry and the civil war in the Congo
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network to Father Marco Arana Zegarra in The Devil Operation for protecting his people against an aggressive Peruvian mining operation despite death threats
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award presented by Opel Project Earth, 1st Prize to Jane's Journey for exhibiting Jane Goodall’s fight to preserve the endangered species of our planet
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award presented by Opel Project Earth, 2nd Prize to A Message from Pandora for supporting indigenous people in their struggle to maintain their homeland and protect the environment
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award presented by Opel Project Earth, 3rd Prize to Harmony for showing examples of how to fight global warming and protect our eco-system
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Sean Penn for his aid work with the J/P Haitian Relief Organization
- Cinema for Peace Award for Fighting AIDS to the CEO of MTV Bill Roedy for the “Staying Alive” campaign, the “Ignite” campaign and “Shuga”
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to The White Ribbon and Michael Haneke, Stefan Arndt, Klaus Chatten and Burghart Klaußner
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Documentary to 'The Picture of the Napalm Girl' by Marc Wiese, Nick Út and Kim Phúc
- Cinema for Peace Award for Justice presented by Luis Moreno-Ocampo to 'Children of War' and Bryan Single, to 'The Stoning of Soraya M.' by Cyrus Nowrasteh and to 'Women in Shroud' by Mohammad Reza Kazemi and Farid Haerinejad
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Work of a Director/Actor/Producer of the Year to 'Triage' and Danis Tanovic, Cedomir Kolar, Colin Farrell and Sir Christopher Lee
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network to 'Tibet in Song' and Ngawang Choephel
- Cinema for Peace Award for Reconciliation to 'Five Minutes of Heaven' and Oliver Hirschbiegel, Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt
- Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award presented by Mikhail Gorbachev and Leonardo DiCaprio to 'Crude' and Joe Berlinger
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to 'As We Forgive' and Laura Waters Hinson and President of Ruanda Paul Kagame
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to 'Milk' and Gus Van Sant, Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks, Dustin Lance Black, Michael London and Sean Penn
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Documentary of the Year to 'The Heart of Jenin' and Ismael Khatib, Leon Geller, Marcus Vetter
- Cinema for Peace Award for Justice to 'Pray the Devil Back to Hell' and Gini Reticker, Abigail Disney, Vaiba Flomo
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network to 'Burma VJ – Reporting form a Closed Country' and Anders Østergaard, Lise Lense-Møller, Aung Htun and The Democratic Voice of Burma
- Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Inspirational Movie of the Yearto 'The Day After Peace' and Jeremy Gilley & Peace One Day, to 'Menachem and Fred' and Menachem Mayer, Fred Raymes, Jens Meurer, Ofra Tevet and Ronit Kertsner and to 'Valkyrie' and Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Christian Berkel, Matthias Schweighöfer, Bryan Singer and Philipp von Schulthess
- Cinema for Peace Award for Contribution to the UN Millennium Development Goals to '8' and Jane Campion, Gael Garcìa Bernal, Jan Kounen, Mira Nair, Gaspar Noé, Abderrahmane Sissako, Gus van Sant and Wim Wenders
- International Green Film Award to Leonardo DiCaprio
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Roger Waters
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to 'Persepolis' and Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Documentary of the Year to 'Trouble' and Ralf Schmerberg and Dropping Knowledge
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Work of Director, Producer or Screenwriter for 'Juno' and Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russel Smith and Lianne Halfon
- Cinema for Peace Best Short Film Award to 'The Spirit' and Joseph Fiennes
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network to Malalai Joya and 'Enemies of Happiness'
- Clean Energy Award to 'Earth' and Alix Tidmarsh, Sophokles Tasioulis, Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, Nikolaus Weil and Stefan Beiten
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Ben Kingsley for portraying Simon Wiesenthal, Itzhak Stern in 'Schindlers List' and Mahatma Gandhi
- Cinema for Peace Special Award to the makers of The Experimental Witch initiated by writer Paolo Coelho and created with the original work of 14 filmmakers from around the world.
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to Clint Eastwood for 'Flags of our Fathers' and 'Letters' from Iwo Jima
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Director of the Year to Bille August for 'Goodbye Bafana'
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Actor of the Year to Forest Whitaker in 'The Last King of Scotland'
- Pioneer Award to Bob Geldof
- International Human Rights Film Award in cooperation with Amnesty International and the Human Rights Film Network for 'Coca – The Dove from Chechnya' and Eric Bergkraut
- Cinema for Peace Brehm & V. Moers Talent Grant to 'I Don`t Feel Like Dancing'
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to George Clooney and Grant Heslov for 'Good Night, and Good Luck'
- Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Work of a Director, Producer or Screenwriter to David Yates und Richard Curtis for 'The Girl in the Café'
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Michael Winterbottom
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to Terry George, Alex Kitman Ho, Sam Bhembe, Roberto Cicutto and Don Cheadle for 'Hotel Rwanda'
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Yearto John Boorman und Robert Chartoff for 'Country of My Skull'
- Cinema for Peace Honorary Award to Lars von Trier
- Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year to Danis Tanovic for 'No Man's Land'
- 'Cinema for Peace Honorary Award' to Istvàn Szabo for portraying the Jewish struggle for survival after WWII