Can music and dance be weapons of peace? In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, director Iara Lee embarked on a journey to better understand a world increasingly embroiled in conflict and, as she saw it, heading for self-destruction. After several years, traveling over five continents, Iara encountered growing numbers of people who committed their lives to promoting change. This is their story; from Iran, where graffiti and rap became tools in fighting government repression, to Burma, where monks acting in the tradition of Gandhi take on a dictatorship, moving on to Brazil, where musicians reach out to slum kids and transform guns into guitars, and ending in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where photography, music, and film have given a voice to those rarely heard. Featuring Medellín poets for peace, Capoeira masters from Brazil, Niger Delta militants, Iranian graffiti artists, women’s movement leaders in Rwanda, Lebanon’s refugee filmmakers, U.S. political pranksters, indigenous Kayapó activists from the Xingu River, Israeli dissidents, hip-hop artists from Palestine, and many more, CULTURES OF RESISTANCE explores how art and creativity can be ammunition in the battle for peace and justice.
ETHIOPIA / ADDIS ABABA, Audience Award, Addis International Film Festival
USA / CA, Best Documentary, Tiburon International Film Festival
INDIA / JAIPUR, Green Rose Award, Jaipur International Film Festival
BENIN / OUIDAH, Python Audience Prize, Jury Special Mentions, Ouidah International Film Festival
UKRAINE / KIEV, Best Documentary on Human Rights, Steps International Film Festival
USA / NY, Best Documentary, 2nd Place, Buffalo International Film Festival
USA / NV, Golden Reel Award Winner, Nevada Film Festival
USA / GA, Best Documentary Feature, Atlanta Underground Film Festival
USA / UT, Best Documentary Feature, Red Rock Film Festival
USA / CA, Love & Encouragement Award, SURGE Film Festival
"In Palestine, we see so many films made about us—it get's exhausting. We start to think that our struggle exists in a vacuum and that we are working in the most difficult situation known to man! But your film really helped us escape for a moment. It helped put a perspective on our lives in Palestine and give us hope that we are a part of a global movement to end occupation everywhere." - Alison R., Palestine
"Humanity is at a critical juncture. Rapid advancements in technology—including ever-more-menacing weapons of war and tools of hyper-consumption—have lured us toward self-destruction. At the same time, advances in global media and telecommunications have made us more conscious than ever of our connections to people around the world. Today, we can act and react in ways never before imagined. Now more than ever each individual, making his or her own creative contribution, can make a difference. Cultures of Resistance seeks to show that—to paraphrase activist Marian Wright Edelman—democracy is not a spectator sport. It is our responsibility to realize our potential and create positive change."