Screenings in the UK
Events are being planned for Liverpool, Leicester, Bristol, The Isle of Wight and various Universities. Watch this space for details
Screenings at Mac Theatre Birmingham
The event at the Mac Theatre Birmingham, in support of the United Nations Pledge for Peace, was well attended, with over 70 at each of the screenings. Several members of the audience joined in a question and answer session and later shared their views, impressions and feelings about the film.
For a taste of the event and the audience reaction please see the following two short videos:
'Inside Peace' Starting Over Begins Within
The Inside Peace film documentary follows a group of inmates doing hard time in a Texas prison as they embark on a journey of personal discovery while struggling with society’s roadblocks and dangers.
“These stories bleed through Inside Peace, and they are crucial to it, but they’re only part of what the film is about. The men manage to take the message to heart that they have value as people – no simple lesson… This is where, for the viewer, the awe comes in.”
—Peace Behind Barbed Wire by Robert Koehler, Huffington Post
“Peace Behind Barbed Wire” – Huffington Post
“These stories bleed through Inside Peace, and they are crucial to it, but they’re only part of what the film is about. The men manage to take the message to heart that they have value as people – no simple lesson, especially when it comes so late in life. This is where, for the viewer, the awe comes in. You mean inner peace is… always possible?” –Robert Koehler
“Inside Peace Goes Behind Bars At SA’s Dominguez State Jail” – San Antonio Current
“When inmates look inward, something positive happens” – San Antonio Express-News
About 'Inside Peace'
Criminal offenders with lives marked by generations of violence, addiction, and poor social conditions attend the Peace Class in a Texas prison where they struggle to discover their humanity, improve their outlook on life and rebuild their lives from the inside out. Four years in the making, Inside Peace is a feature documentary that focuses on several compelling characters who were incarcerated at Dominguez State Jail in San Antonio, Texas. There, they embarked on a journey of change by enrolling in the Peace Class, one of the few self-improvement programs offered in prisons across the country that are not faith-based, but instead concentrates on the individual’s inner strength and self-worth.
Trinidad, David, Chase, and Jake grew up in neighborhoods with the same multi-layered deprivation that produces most of the offenders in the United States: Lack of education, poverty, joblessness, unstable family lives and exposure to the criminal element. All had come to identify with the hardened exteriors they developed as coping mechanisms and presented to the world — a brutal street fighter, Trinidad was feared inside and out of jail — David was a small-time drug dealer, who fended for himself on the streets as a teenager trying to get by — there never seemed to be a right time or a right place for Chase his whole life — born into a family of heroin addicts, Jake abused drugs from an early age. None of them was ever taught or realized he had the capacity to make positive choices in life.
Inside Peace provides a window into the hearts and minds of men doing hard time who choose to break the cycle of negativity. With a supporting cast of fellow inmates, prison officials, experts and family members, the film takes the viewer down these men’s difficult roads as they reintegrate with life on the outside relying on the personal peace, self-worth and dignity discovered at the Peace Class. If they can change the only belief system they’ve ever known and are successful in understanding their value as human beings, they just may have a chance of living better lives by making better choices. The path becomes most treacherous when released from jail and as they try to negotiate a world filled with conflict, rejection and hostility. Faced with these familiar roadblocks at every turn, they must avoid the temptation to return to their old ways—those that led to failure and imprisonment in the first place.
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PRODUCER/DIRECTOR — CYNTHIA FITZPATRICK | Though Inside Peace is her directorial debut as a documentary producer and director, Cynthia has been in the film business for the last 25 years and began her career at HBO as a feature script reader. She then moved on to producing and editing trailers for HBO feature films. Her editorial work has been associated with hundreds of titles, including a comedy series starring and directed by Tracey Ullman. She edited many “Behind the Scenes” for HBO as well as series for network syndication including the “The Sopranos”, “Six Feet Under” and “Sex and the City“.
CO-PRODUCER/WRITER — ROSIE LEE | She is a video producer in the non-profit sector and has worked on numerous documentary shorts for over 20 years. She is a published writer, content developer and editorial consultant. Rosie has been collaborating with Cynthia Fitzpatrick on “Inside Peace” since 2011.
STORY CONSULTANT — EVE GOLDBERG | She has worked as a writer, director, producer and editor in film and television for over 30 years. Her credits include: “Panama Deception”, Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary – story consultant; “Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist”, Emmy Award nominated for Best Non-Fiction Special – writer/editor; “Cover-Up: Behind the Iran/Contra Affair”, Golden Hugo Award, Prix du Public, number of other awards – writer/editor.
The Peace Class (Peace Education Program)
“The correctional education movement began in 1789, when clergyman William Rogers first offered instruction at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Jail. The warden was worried that a riot might result from the revolutionary innovation, so he required that two guards attend the meeting with a loaded cannon aimed directly at the convict students. Everything was peaceful, of course.”
—The History of Correctional Education, Thom Gehring
Correctional education in the USA has come a long way since 1789, primarily due to the Correctional Education Association (CEA), which provides a wide range of opportunities for inmates in North America. It was through CEA that some of the earliest versions of the Peace Class first aired.
Volunteers saw the potential for bringing peace education to the prison population, initially organising grant funding for distribution of ‘Words of Peace’ DVDs into CEA’s telecast programming in 2007. Volunteers also brought the DVDs to inmates in other countries, such as Argentina, with reported success at a women’s prison in Ezeiza.
Motivated by this initiative, Roberto and Chantal Piriz brought “Words of Peace” DVDs into the Dominguez State Jail in San Antonio, Texas, in 2007 and began offering live classes. Word got out, and the class concept quickly spread to other prisons and other countries. In 2011 the director of the Zonderwater prison in South Africa, having seen the impact the DVDs had on the inmates, requested a formalized version of the program so they could offer it throughout their prison system. By then, it was named the Peace Education Program (PEP), a curriculum consisting of 10 one-hour workshops designed to help inmates discover their own inner resources, innate tools for living such as inner strength, choice, and hope–and the possibility of personal peace. PEP is held in correctional facilities and parolee programs all across North America as well as in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
“I recommend this program to you as an effective means to help increase the harmony within individuals and the community in which you serve.” – Stephen Steurer, former CEA Executive Director
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