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Chicago, IL, September 4th 2008 - The first annual Peace on Earth Film Festival opened to an enthusiastic crowd of 225 peacemakers and film enthusiast in attendance. Held at the newly renovated Victory Garden’s Biograph Theater -2433 N Lincoln Ave, the weekend design presented 40 films on peace, nonviolence, and social justice. Fourteen filmmakers were in attendance, six of whom received awards for excellence in various “Best of” categories.

Sunday’s festival finale was highlighted by seven member Peacemakers moderated by award winning columnist and nationally syndicated Robert C Koehler. Amongst the panel members were Professor Mary Jeanne Larrabee of the DePaul University School of Peace/Conflict Resolution and Social Justice, Edith Crigler Associate Director of the Chicago Area Projects, Ken Surdin of the Regional Office of the US Peace Corp, Jennifer Kim, Education Coordinator of The Peace School, and Karen Johnson, Illinois coordinator of the movement to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence in the US government.

Evening finally honored all filmmakers in attendance and awards given directly to winners in attendance:

Best Short Narrative: “Sovereignty” a sardonic comedy Directed/Produced by Jonathan Sale.

Audience Favorite: “Happy New Year” starring Michael Cuomo (Lead Actor/Producer) and Written/Directed by K. Lorrel Manning won the hearts of festival attendees.

Student Short Narrative: “The Paradigm Shift” Written/Directed by Jon Bar from Temple University.

Best Feature Documentary: “Diamonds in the Rough” follows the peacemaking journey of Ugandan born Hip-Hop star Silas. Matthew Forrest Producer/Editor in attendance.

Student Documentary: “American Sandinista” Directed/Written by Jason Blalock.

Best Feature Narrative: “Trouble Sleeping” Written/Directed by Eddie Dick (Scotland)

Best Short Documentary: “My American Neighbor” Written/Directed by Russian Born, Irina Patkanian.

Best Message: “Flowers of Rwanda” Written/Directed by Spanish Filmmaker David Munoz.

Best Animation: “Pairoflexia” Written/Directed by Joaquin Baldwin.

Friday night’s opening saw the Chicago Premiere of the “Dalai Lama Renaissance” narrated by Harrison Ford. Saturday was highlighted by a filmmaker’s Panel discussion of the viability of nonviolent films as entertainment. A highlight of Saturday’s exposition was a documentary emanating out of Free Spirit Media and students of North Lawndale College Preparatory High School entitled “Will I Be Next.”

“I was overwhelmed” says POEFF Exec Director Nick Angotti. “We exceeded expectations and are setting plans for next year and the honoring peace-building filmmakers from around the world.”

About New Thought Chicago: New Thought Chicago is a non-for profit spiritual and conscious changing group that focus on self-transformation of our conscious awareness through the ideas of ancient Greeks and Egyptians, also found in works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Transcendentalist movement and echoed in modern writings of Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and others.