Courage vs. Violence Film and Discussion Series

posters designed by Juan Alduey

Days, Times and Locations

We will screen films starting at 7pm (doors open at 6:30). All films will be a short walk from Union Square subway station and a shorter walk from 3rd Avenue L-line station.

Each film will take place at one of three venues: either at the Meeting Room or Room 1 at the 15th Street Friends' Meeting House at 15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY (along Rutherford Place, which lies between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, and runs between 15th and 16th Streets), or at Penington Friends House, 215 East 15th Street, next to the Meeting House along 15th between 3rd Ave and Rutherford Place.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 (Part 1) Thursday, March 24, 2011 (Part 2). A Force More Powerful. The film explores one of the 20th century's most important but least understood stories: how nonviolent power has overcome oppression and authoritarian rule all over the world. Narrated by Ben Kingsley, and nominated for an Emmy. [from]. NR. Location: Room 1, 15 Rutherford Place, Manhattan.

[Films below have already been shown]

Wednesday December 1, 2010.
Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony. The struggle to eradicate apartheid in South Africa has been chronicled over time, but no one has addressed the vital role music plays in this challenge. This documentary by Lee Hirsch recounts a fascinating and little-known part of South Africa's political history through archival footage, interviews and, of course, several mesmerizing musical performances. 11 wins and 6 nominations. Location: Meeting Room, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.
Thursday, December 2, 2010.

The Singing Revolution. James and Maureen Castle Tusty's moving documentary recounts Estonia's fight for independence from Soviet occupation, telling the remarkable story of the hundreds of thousands of protestors who gathered in public to voice their dissent through song. After 50 years of rule by the oppressive Soviet regime, the people of Estonia gave life to a grassroots movement for change by staging passionate rallies and singing forbidden patriotic songs. Location: Penington Friends House, 215 East 15th Street.

Thursday, December 9, 2010.
Bringing Down A Dictator. Documents the spectacular defeat of Slobodan Milosevic in October, 2000, not by force of arms, as many had predicted, but by an ingenious nonviolent strategy of honest elections and massive civil disobedience. []1 award. Location: Penington Friends House, 215 East 15th Street.

, December 16, 2010. Joyeux Noel.
Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee for Best Foreign Film, Joyeux Noel tells the story of a spontaneous Christmas Eve truce declared by Scottish, French and German troops in the trenches of World War I [loosely based on a number of truces that really broke out on Christmas Eve during World War I]. Enemies leave their weapons behind for one night as they band together in brotherhood and forget about the brutalities of war. Diane Kruger (Troy), Daniel Bruhl (Good Bye Lenin!) and Benno Furmann (The Princess and the Warrior) head a first rate international cast in a powerful, must-see film [from the DVD case]. PG-13. Nominated for an Academy Award. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. Location: Meeting Room, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.

Friday, December 17, 2010. Weapons of the Spirit. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was a tiny Protestant farming village in the mountains of south-central France. Defying the Nazis and the French government that was collaborating with the Nazis, the villagers of the area of Le Chambon provided a safe haven throughout the war for whoever knocked on their door. During the course of the war, the villagers collectively rescued 5,000 Jews, mostly children. NR. 2 wins. []. Location: Room 1, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place, Manhattan.

Thursday, January 27, 2011. Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Director Gini Reticker and producer Abigail E. Disney's documentary tells the story of the thousands of Liberian women, both Christian and Muslim, who helped end the bloody civil war in 2003 that killed over 200,000 people. Through nonviolent protests, these brave women forced a resolution in the peace talks, and their efforts led to the election of Africa's first female head of state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. NR. 1 nomination. Location: Meeting Room, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 (Part 1) and Friday, February 4, 2011 (Part 2). Tiananmen/Gate of Heavenly Peace. A feature-length documentary about the 1989 protest movement, reflecting the drama, tension, humor, absurdity, heroism, and many tragedies of the six weeks from April to June in 1989. The film reveals how the hard-liners within the government marginalized moderates among the protesters (including students, workers and intellectuals), while the actions of radical protesters undermined moderates in the government. Moderate voices were gradually cowed and then silenced by extremism and emotionalism on both sides. [] NR. 6 awards, one nomination. Location: Room 1, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.

Thursday, February 10, 2011. Eyes on the Prize. This Emmy-winning documentary from the PBS "American Experience" series uses newsreel footage and narratives from famous and everyday people to take viewers inside the struggle for civil rights during the crucial years of 1954 through '65. Among the critical events discussed are the Montgomery bus boycott, the integration of schools in Little Rock, the murder of activists in Mississippi and Martin Luther King's groundbreaking marches to freedom. NR. Location: Penington Friends House, 215 East 15th Street.

Thursday, February 17, 2011. Favela Rising. Co-directors Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary's acclaimed documentary charts the growth of Rio de Janeiro's AfroReggae movement, a grassroots effort to combat the soul-crushing oppression of the city's most notorious slum. Led by former street thug Anderson Sa, the nonviolent program celebrates Afro-Brazilian culture, drawing on hip-hop music and dance to unite the impoverished neighborhood against the ubiquitous drug pushers and corrupt cops. NR. Won over 25 international festival awards and was short-listed for an Oscar. Location: Room 1, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.

Thursday, February 24, 2011. Harlan County, U.S.A. Director Barbara Kopple's film about the 1973 coal miners' strike in Harlan County, KY, won a Best Documentary Oscar and was selected for the National Film Registry. Highlighting the struggles of families living in shacks with no indoor plumbing and enduring hazardous working conditions, the film details the conflict between the Eastover Mining Co. and the laborers determined to join the United Mine Workers of America. PG. Won Oscar. Another 2 wins. Location: Penington Friends House, 215 East 15th Street.

Friday, February 25, 2011. Crude. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger's provocative documentary explores the ongoing battle waged by 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorans and their lawyers against Chevron for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste into the Amazon. Berlinger examines the environmental catastrophe -- dubbed the "Amazon Chernobyl" -- from all sides, following the drama as it moves from the contamination site to the courtroom and beyond, even landing on the cover of Vanity Fair. NR. 9 wins & 2 nominations. Location: Meeting Room, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.

Friday, March 11, 2011. Sir, No Sir! Filmmaker and activist David Zeiger’s documentary chronicles the largely forgotten antiwar activities of American GIs and other members of the military during the Vietnam era -- actions that put them in greater peril than civilian protesters. Powerful and surprising, the film weaves together the stories of veterans who participated in the opposition movement, an effort that, by the early 1970s, found widespread support from civilians and troops alike. NR. 1 win & 2 nominations. Location: Room 1, 15th Street Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place.

Summaries above are cut and pasted from Netflix unless otherwise noted. Awards listings are sourced from IMDB or Wikipedia.

The series runs until March 24. The films will be shown approximately once a week (sometimes twice for thematically similar films or for long films that need to be split up). Most films will be shown on Thursdays, some on Fridays.

This series is co-sponsored by the Arts and Peace Committees of the 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. If you are interested in volunteering to assist with this film series, please contact Ian by email: ianthehansen "at" gmail "dot" com. Please check this website for updates.


  1. sounds like a great line up.. welldone...
    “Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes (German Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist. 1749-1832)

  2. greetings from the isle of wight:
    congratulations~this is fabulous
    and beginning of a dream
    that the meetinghouse
    can "hold Light"
    to inspiring films..