News Column

Local stories, global issues at Global Peace Film Festival

September 12, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 12--The Global Peace Film Festival will have just two Central Florida movies this year, but executive director Nina Streich says she isn't disappointed.

"Sometimes the films aren't ready or are in the gestation stage," she said. "You never know what you're going to get in a given year."

But she is high on the local movies she has: "Billy and Alan: In Life, Love and Death, Equality Matters" from director Vicki Nantz and "Take Me Home" from director Famor Botero.

The 11th annual festival starts Tuesday and will showcase 40 films over six days at venues in Orlando and Winter Park, at Rollins College and Valencia College.

"We never pick an overriding theme," Streich said. "We try to have a broad spectrum. From the one end it's personal, inner peace. On the other end, it's global, international stories, learning about other cultures, films about war and peace issues. We run the gamut."

The local films are personal and global. "Billy and Alan," a 37-minute documentary, charts how Orlando Weekly writer Billy Manes coped after losing his partner, Alan, and endured homophobia. "Take Me Home," a 59-minute documentary, teaches about Orlando's homeless culture through personal stories.

Botero, 33, also serves as his movie's on-screen narrator Fabian. "It might be a bit confusing, but I don't think the name matters. The story matters," Botero said.

The main figures include Aiden Robinson, a 7-year-old with star quality, and Rick Peete, who lost his job at the Orlando Sentinel and lives homeless downtown. The film also provides interviews with Arielle Metzger, a homeless girl featured on "60 Minutes" in 2011.

"I wanted to find people we could relate to," Botero said. "Aiden is so innocent and beautiful. I felt people would fall in love with him. He's the new face of homelessness. Rick has a master's degree in economics. I wanted to find stories that people would listen to and realize these could be our children or parents or ourselves."

Botero called it a blessing that the Metzger family is in the film, which also features two original songs. He is shooting a film in Miami about immigration that he said features "A-list celebrities," but he declined to drop any names.

He made "Take Me Home" while earning a bachelor's in film at Full Sail University near Winter Park. He has shown the film at other festivals and at colleges, but he said being included in the Global Peace Film Festival is special.

"It means the world," he said. "It means we're able to show the Central Florida community that this film, made there, is inspiring so many people around the nation. It's a great venue for all the people on my film to have a voice."

The festival's Streich stressed the importance of homelessness as a local issue. "Most middle-class people are one paycheck away from homelessness," she said. "I think what's important about this film is that people often have a stereotyped view of the homeless as people who are lazy. So many of them are working. That's what's personal."

hboedeker@tribune.com

Global Peace Film Festival

What: Festival featuring 40 movies over six days

Where: Various locations throughout Central Florida

When: Tuesday-Sept. 22.

Tickets: Tickets for individual screenings are $8 at the venue or the website globalpeace.festivalgenius.com/2013/schedule/week. A silver pass for $99 or a gold pass for $199 admits holder to all screenings and events. A weekday or weekend pass costs $50. Passes are available at peacefilmfest.org.

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(c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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