"When human beings live together, conflict is inevitable. War is not."
- Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist Philosopher
What better time to explore conflict than an election year, when the media reduces issues to a competition between red and blue? As the battle ensues, the contenders divide and conquer the map like a paint-by-numbers page. In this scenario, red and blue represent polar opposites, “I’m right” versus “You’re wrong,” good versus evil, black versus white. Yet if we were to wear those same colors over our eyes in a theater, dimension and layers would emerge on screen. The overlap would create a richer world. We believe film does create a richer world, which is why we are using film to better understand conflict.
For the 10th anniversary of CMU IFF, we explore the Faces of Conflict. Our exploration of conflict is an exploration of the gradient between red and blue, of the grays that exist between black and white, and the fuzzy lines between good and evil. When we look at the gray area, we realize, people are closer to us than not. We find understanding, empathy, room for conversation. When we find similarities and common ground, we look for ways to band together rather than alienate.
In this gray area, we will discover how beyond the battlefield, war is the conflict between a single mother and her young children, how the line between right and wrong in a war zone is hazy at best. We will meet the faces the law deems to be criminals, but who one woman sees as dreamcatchers. Will will look through the cracks in pristine appearances for hints of deep conflict only to discover we may be complicit in the cover-up. We will meet two vigilantes, who by all appearances would seem like sworn enemies but fight the same foe. This themed journey will introduce us to the marginalized, those pushed so far beyond society’s neat and tidy categories as to exist amongst the garbage.
As always, the 10th Anniversary edition is about more than the faces on screen. This festival is about you. It’s about the person in the audience next to you. It’s about your questions for filmmakers and film subjects. CMU IFF is about conversation and exchange, about finding the gray area, the middle ground where you find what unites you instead of what divides you. The festival is a celebration of local culture and channeling local expertise for further understanding. We thank you for opening your mind, believing in the richness of film and making this festival possible.
The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival is organized by The Humanities Center at CMU and is dedicated to the late Paul Goodman, a world-renowned filmmaker, psychologist, and CMU professor. The festival mirrors Paul's dedication to global awareness in his teaching and research, and his desire to bring to light important but often overlooked aspects of diverse individuals through filmmaking. The festival is also grateful to Denise Rousseau, Paul’s wife and Professor of Organizational Behavior and Public Policy at CMU, whose gracious personal involvement has enabled the legacy of Paul Goodman to live through the festival.