HIFF 2016: Films of Conflict & Resolution

17 years ago, Board member Kim Brizzolara founded the Films of Conflict & Resolution section. Ever since, this program has been dedicated to showcasing films that deal with the complex issues and societal effects of war and violence, and the attendant human dramas, in creative ways. The films in the program, including four feature documentaries and a program of short films, call on the audience to learn, react, and engage in worthy causes.

The program recognizes one of the films in the series with a cash prize of $5,000 from the Brizzolara Family Foundation and a panel discussion after its screening, encouraging dialogue and action.


Disturbing the Peace 650


East Coast Premiere | USA | Directed by Stephen Apkon, Andrew Young
The stirring documentary DISTURBING THE PEACE, from award-winning director Stephen Apkon and Academy Award®-nominated director Andrew Young, follows a group of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters who bravely transition from former enemies to peace activists. Moving away from the protracted conflict that has caused nothing but disruption and tragedy in their own lives, they decide to form “Combatants for Peace,” a bi-partisan organization whose main goal is finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Their transformational journey is a testament to the courage necessary to challenge the status quo despite the resistance encountered along the way.


Immediately following the screening, a panel of distinguished guests and film subjects convened to discuss the issues in the film. Tickets to the screening included the panel.

Panelists: Stephen Apkon, Marcina Hale, Suliman al-Khatib, Chen Alon, Mohammed Owedah, Avner Wishnitzer
Moderator: Felicia Taylor

Fire-at-Sea-650FIRE AT SEA

Italy/France | Directed by Gianfranco Rosi
Berlin Golden Bear-winning documentary FIRE AT SEA is a beautifully crafted and poignant depiction of the European migrant crisis told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old boy. The sleepy Sicilian island of Lampedusa has transformed into the primary transit point for migrants dreaming of freedom and a better life in Europe. Gianfranco Rosi masterfully shapes the story around a lively local boy, Samuele, who seemingly lives a normal life amid the chaos on the island. Rosi skillfully juxtaposes his mundane activities over the tragedies unfurling daily in the background on the island.

Sonita 650SONITA

Germany/Switzerland/Iran | Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Sonita Alizadeh is a young Afghan refugee living in Iran and dreaming of becoming a famous rapper. Her family, on the other hand, has different plans for Sonita, who is worth $9,000 as a bride. But Sonita’s dreams are big and unyielding to the pressure surrounding her. She defies local expectations and fights back with her music by crafting powerful lyrics that condemn a society filled with violence and oppression. Together with Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, who shifts from observer to active participant in Sonita’s life, they form a powerful coalition determined to bring joy and hope to everyone who witnesses their award-winning story.

Films of Conflict & Resolution Shorts Program

The three short films selected for the Films of Conflict & Resolution will screen together in a 78-minute program at HIFF 2016.


Narrative, UK/Kosovo, 2016, 20 minutes, English
Directed by Daniel Mulloy
A young English family sets out on a very different kind of holiday.

my-aleppo-650MY ALEPPO

Documentary, USA, 2015, 18 minutes, Arabic
Directed by Melissa Langer
Forced to flee to South Africa, a Syrian family anxiously awaits news from home.

white-helmets-650THE WHITE HELMETS

Documentary, USA/UK, 2016, 40 minutes, Arabic
Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel
Having chosen to remain in the war-torn city of Aleppo, the volunteer rescue group the White Helmets heroically risk their lives to aid their neighbors.