Tag Archives: Concrete Steel and Paint

Finding Common Ground in a Time of Division

By Sophie Sartain

My So-Called Enemy

Filmmaker Lisa Gossels calls it “The Explosion” – the moment when people from two sides of a conflict can no longer hide behind small talk. Pain roars to the surface and reconciliation seems impossible. Gossels witnessed that moment in making her film My So-Called Enemy, about Palestinian and Israeli girls engaged in dialogue through a leadership program in the United States. “There’s a trigger or a meltdown, a point of no return,” she says. “And that is when real change can occur.”

In these complex and uncertain times, when our country seems more polarized than ever and many of us are walled off in separate political camps, three New Day Films point to another way of being. They profile individuals acting against instinct to reach across a divide, engage with the “other” and even reconcile with an entrenched enemy. They offer hope in our current climate of fear, anger and misunderstanding.

Concrete, Steel & Paint

In Concrete, Steel & Paint, the conflicts aren’t political. They are deeply personal. Filmmakers Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza tell the story of men in prison, victims of crime, and an artistic partnership that helps break down barriers between them. As prisoners, victims, and victim advocates collaborate on a mural about healing from crime, their views collide, sometimes harshly. Most challenging, says Burstein, was for “each side to listen with empathy to the pain of the other side.” But as the project progresses, mistrust gives way to surprising moments of human connection and common purpose. “People got to know each other more as individuals and engaged as human beings,” she recalls. “We learned that most people, despite their differences, have the capacity to connect.”

Another Side of Peace

Ellen Frick’s Another Side of Peace spotlights the transformative efforts of Roni Hirshenzon, a 60-year-old Israeli man who has suffered as much as any parent can imagine. Both of his sons died at the age of 19 as a direct result of the conflict in the region. Putting hatred and anger aside, Roni co-founded the Parents Circle, a support group for bereaved families, Israelis and Palestinians alike. The film follows Roni’s efforts to reach reconciliation and come to terms with the deaths of his sons. He works with Palestinian partners to connect with other bereaved families in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Their message is simple: No More Death. As Frick notes, Another Side of Peace “reminds us that humanity can supersede politics.”

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is also the backdrop of My So-Called Enemy, but Lisa Gossels’s subjects are at a very different stage of life. As teenagers, six Palestinian and Israeli girls meet in the United States in a leadership program called Building Bridges for Peace. The film then follows them for seven years as they return to their homes. Through the girls’ coming-of-age narratives, audiences see how creating relationships across emotional, political, cultural, religious, and physical divides are first steps towards resolving conflict. “I truly believe you can’t meet the ‘enemy,’ the ‘other’ or someone you don’t know and not change,” says Gossels. “All it takes is asking a few questions. When you do, you will find that no one wants to, or deserves to be stereotyped, and that we often have more in common than what divides us.”

From now until May 1, receive 20% off your purchase of Concrete, Steel and Paint, Another Side of Peace, and My So-Called Enemy with the promo code PEACE20.

Visit New Day’s full collection of films on Peace and Conflict Studies here.

Highlights from the APA Conference

By Cindy Burstein, New Day Member

Day One

Great day today at the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention! It began with screenings of Seeking Asian Female and Concrete, Steel & Paint, followed by engaging conversations at our exhibit booth with APA members, encounters with trick or treaters, and the drawing of our first raffle! Looking forward to tomorrow…

APA_Day 1Day 1 of the American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, DC. We’re ready to go at Exhibit Booth 144! Stop by and meet the filmmakers! — with Heather Courtney and Cindy Burstein.

Day 2.3Seeking Asian Female buttons peak interest from our booth visitors!

Day 2.4Meera Rastogi, APA member and Film Festival committee programmer, stops by to say hello!

Day 2.5New Day member Mike Fountain selects the first of our four raffle winners to win a free DVD!

Day 2.2A glimpse into the APA Film Festival screening room

Day 2.1Gigi, from the APA social media team, just attended two New Day Films screenings of Concrete, Steel & Paint, a film about crime, restoration and healing (by Cindy Burstein, pictured here) and Seeking Asian Female (an eccentric modern love story about an aging white man with “yellow fever” and the young Chinese bride he finds online). 

 Day Two

And the fun continues! Booth visitors are enthusiatic, I’m Just Anneke screens with LGBT shorts and packs the house and an educator tells us a story that had us in awe… he met his husband at a screening of Daddy and Papa! Wow. It’s a New Day, everyday, here at the APA.

Day 2.11New Day member Leena Jayaswal is ready for APA!

Day 2.12APA Film Festival Programmer Robert Simmermon stops by the New Day Films Exhibit Booth to welcome us and say hello!

Day 2.13I’m Just Anneke screens with LGBT Shorts at APA Film Festival to a packed house!

Day 2.4Roxy, from Modesto Junior College, made it a priority to see I’m Just Anneke at the APA Film Festival! “This short film is a valuable tool as I begin my profession as a child and family advocate and in my work as a student government leader on my college campus.”

Day 2.15Daniel has us in awe after telling us his story… that he met his husband 12 years ago at a screening of the New Day films title Daddy & Papa!

Day 2.7New Day was here

Day Three

Danny (pictured yesterday-he met his husband at a screening of Daddy and Papa) returns today to introduce us to the family… a treat, indeed! A booth visitor thanked us for our LGBT content, especially related to transgender youth. Filmmaker, Corin Wilson, and friend of Concrete, Steel & Paint stops by to lend a hand. Creativity is in the air! Hearts and minds are open at APA.

Day 3.1Danny and Steven stopped by with the whole family to say hello! They met at a screening of the New Day Film, Daddy & Papa… twelve years ago, and celebrate that date as their anniversary! Congratulations. New Day Films is sharing the love.

Day 3.2Filmmaker Corin Wilson stops by to lend a hand for New Day Films!

Day 3.3APA is building community through art-making

Day 3.4Professor Mark Cooper leads the art-making project

Day 3.5“The creative spirit is at the core of the psych.” Hmmmm… this sounds a lot like New Day Films!

 Day Four

The final day kicks off with a morning screening of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines… POW! And one of our raffle winners, a high school principal, picks Straightlaced-How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up as his prize! It’s been a rewarding stretch in DC. 4 days, 4 screenings, and hundreds of new encounters. We look forward to continuing the connection. Thank you, APA!

Day 4.1Simone from Goddard College meets New Day Films at the screening of Wonder Women! “This film took me back to my childhood, and got me thinking across the decades!”

Day 4.29am coffee, and a screening of Wonder Women=good deal!

Day 4.3New Day Films enjoyed having 4 titles from our collection screen this year!

Day 4.4High school principal, and New Day Films raffle winner, John O’Dell, is interested in opening up the dialogue with guidance counselors, parents and students with Straightlaced–How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up!

Day 4.5Mary Anne Dornbusch, APA Convention Manager and Film Festival Program Committee Liaison, stops by to say hello!

Day 4.6All of our candy is gone. It must really be time to go!!

Day 4.7That’s a wrap! Thank you, APA.