What: Earth Charter Film Festival
Where: Ventura College MCW 113 Lecture Hall
When: Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, 7-10 p.m.
Admission: All events are FREE
Additional information: 340-7073 or www.c-p-r.net

Following the events of 9/11, the attitudes of governments around the world changed dramatically. The age of terrorism had emerged and with it an increased willingness to engage in military strikes, war and torture.

Dr. Bob Dodge, a family physician who has been in private practice in Ventura for 33 years, soon realized that he wanted to counterbalance this approach: to provide discussions about peace, justice and the environment, and to explore alternatives for resolving conflict.

For Dodge, the impetus for creating Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (CPR) was George W. Bush’s push to create a new nuclear armament policy. “It started six months after 9/11, after the George W. Bush administration released its nuclear posture review,” he said. “At the time, it laid out a plan for developing his nuclear policy and developing a new generation of usable nuclear weapons, identifying the nations he considered the axis of evil, and for the first time, reserving the right by the U.S. to engage in a nuclear pre-emptive strike.”

Dodge helped found CPR in order to sponsor an outlet for community dialogue about topics like the Patriot Act, nuclear disarmament and the environment. Formed in March 2002, it currently meets the first Sunday of every month at E.P. Foster Library in downtown Ventura.

As part of its mission, CPR holds an annual conference called the “Earth Charter Community Summit,” which is co-sponsored by the Ventura College International Studies Program. This year it will be held Oct. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Guthrie Hall on the Ventura College campus.

This year’s summit includes the launching of its first annual “Earth Charter Film Festival,” an idea that had been percolating for some time among CPR members. The tipping point came after CPR members previewed a documentary film titled Voices of the Homeless. “It so exemplified social and economic justice,” he said. “So this year we said, we’re really going to spend the effort to do it.” This year’s quartet of films has some direct connections to local filmmakers from Ventura County.

Thursday, October 10
Afghan Girls School
Produced by Westlake Village Quakers Edith Cole and Joe Franko, who traveled to Pakistan in 2002 to try to help some of the more than 2 million Afghan refugees in the country. They eventually raised funds and built a school for young Afghan and Pakistani women in a refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Ground Operations: Battlefield to Farmfield
Produced by Ojai residents Dulanie Ellis and Raymond Singer, this documentary follows an ensemble of young men and women who tell us why they joined the military, how the war changed them, how they struggled to return home and, ultimately, how they found organic farming and ranching to be the answer to a dream.

Friday, October 11
Voices of the Homeless
Produced by Ventura jazz singer Toni Jannotta, who brought together jazz musicians skilled at listening and homeless people whose voices are rarely heard, to join together in a creative ensemble.

Do the Math
Produced by 350.org out of Brooklyn, N.Y., which is building a global grass-roots movement to solve the climate crisis. 350.org engages in online campaigns, grass-roots organizing, and mass public actions led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in more than 188 countries.

For Dodge and CPR, exploring films means using art as a means to further the message. “We are constantly trying to increase community awareness of our charter,” he said. “We think film is a remarkable medium to raise awareness and consciousness.”

He hopes that this film festival will plant the seed for a fertile idea. “The nice thing about doing this is that it develops a life of its own,” he noted. “My hope is that we’ll start to have more films submitted and eventually make it a much larger film festival.”