An award-winning documentary about the power of peace to change prisoners’ lives receives its regional NSW premiere in Armidale next week.
The screening of “Inside Peace” at Belgrave Cinema on Wednesday evening has been organised by Studio View Productions and the University of New England’s Peace Studies department, and sponsored by the Regional Australia Bank.
The documentary – which has won awards from several American independent film festivals – tells the experience of four inmates at Dominguez State Jail, Texas, who attend the Peace Education Program, a workshop to help people discover inner resources and find personal peace.
“It’s an inspirational film, but it’s also educational,” Dr Marty Branagan, convener of the Peace Studies department, said. “This film and programme look at creating peace at an individual level, peace within, a sense of self-worth and dignity. That benefits the people who learn that, such as these inmates, and society as a whole.”
Developed by the Prem Rawat Foundation, a humanitarian charity, the Peace Education Program has been run in prisons, community groups, colleges, youth programmes, adult education programmes, and hospices in 74 countries worldwide, including Australia.
The Program has not yet reached Armidale, but the screening’s organisers hope the film will change that.
A panel discussion will follow the screening to explore issues raised in the film and discuss how the Program can help both in prisons and in other contexts.
Kevin Dupé, CEO of the Regional Australia Bank, will facilitate the panel, whose members include Dr Branagan; Brad Widders, Armidale Regional Councillor and member of the Anaiwan community; Cynthia Briggs, local Indigenous elder; and Bernie Shakeshaft, founder of youth service BackTrack.
A Peace Education Program Briefing Day will be held at UNE the next day to inform people about the program.
“I feel there are so many quite wonderful initiatives in the community towards peace and towards justice and a good life for everyone that I think it's a really appropriate place to launch the film,” Margaret Berman, from Studio View Productions, said. “The support from the bank and partnering with the Peace Studies department really made it possible.”
“Inside Peace” will be shown at the Belgrave Cinema, 145 Dumaresq St, Armidale, at 6.30pm for 7.00pm on Wednesday, April 4th, followed by a panel discussion. The Briefing Day will run on Thursday, April 5th from 10am to 4.30pm.