Global Peace Film Festival continues

The Global Peace Film Festival continues through Sunday in Orlando and Winter Park, Florida. Last night the festival screened 10 films at six locations. I attended what was supposed to be the 5:30 p.m. screening of RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope at the Cobb Plaza Cinema Café, but, regrettably, things didn’t go quite as planned.

rfk-700x394When I arrived, the one representative from the festival didn’t know which theater the film would be in. (I eventually tracked down the cinema manager, who seemed to be the only informed staff member.) After finding my seat among the roughly 10 people in attendance – which included the filmmakers – the movie began. But it was the wrong one. Instead of seeing the documentary about Robert Kennedy’s historic trip to South Africa in 1966, we watched Underfire: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro. That was the one silver lining of the evening, as the documentary by Max Lewkowicz (3 stars) is well worth a watch when it gets its regularly scheduled festival premiere on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at the Winter Park Public Library. (It’s also playing on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Gallery at Avalon Island.)

But that wasn’t exactly a silver lining for RFK directors Tami Gold and Larry Shore, who had to wait almost an hour and a half for their film thanks to an apparent Blu-ray mishap. And when it finally did begin, it was projected in the wrong aspect ratio, 1.85:1 instead of the boxier 1.37:1 in which it was shot. (Underfire didn’t look great, either, as it was projected on Blu-ray, but at least the aspect ratio was correct.) This necessitated another delay while festival staff tried to fix the problem. They couldn’t. So Gold rightfully walked out in frustration, as did I.

Festival Artistic Director Kelly DeVine, with whom I spoke, was extremely gracious and apologetic to the filmmakers and the audience. And, admittedly, no festival is without glitches. But, nevertheless, the event should be held accountable and should find a way to make it up to Gold, Shore and its patrons. I’d suggest another showing of RFK in the correct aspect ratio.

Executive Director Nina Streich reached out to me for comment. “Apologies for the terrible problem with the RFK screening,” she said. “You are right that the festival should be held accountable. You are also right that slip-ups occur. Last night’s was the worst slip-up we’ve had, and we will be paying attention to how that won’t happen again as we do our production post-mortem.”

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