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Pangea Day
Craig Neilson, 5 May 08
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Pangea Day is May 10: A global film event showcasing short films made to inspire and compel social change. We first reported on Pangea Day when creator Jehane Noujaim was awarded the TED Prize as a project spring-board in 2006.

When we checked in with Noujaim a year later, the plan was to choose a line-up of short films: 10 winners from 30 finalists. The films were announced a few days ago: There are fifty - and they look fantastic.

On Saturday, these films will be shown at more than one thousand events. They'll be broadcast on more than 20 television networks, as well as over the web and to mobile phones. The program is a four hour "global campfire" including short films, guest speakers and live music. It will be subtitled in seven languages.

What's fascinating is that Pangea Day is so largely a community event. Despite Nokia's sponsorship and a fair amount of celebrity involvement, the majority of Pangea Day events ('Friends of Pangea Day Events") are making use of willing grassroots networks to succeed.

The films have been provided, for the most part, by people and organisations very close to the subject of their work. The Friends of Pangea Day events are numerous, non-profit and advertised predominantly by email lists. The broadcasting partners will download the content by satellite, free.

There's a lot of power in grassroots networks, and Pangea Day will succeed if only a reason to meet up and check in with what's going on in the world. It could soon be a relevant and meaningful shared experience for a lot of people - something to inspire and compel the group action and social change Noujaim and partners set out to achieve. Pangea Day doesn't tackle all the issues head on, but by presenting them in an emotive and personable way, maybe the people that watch it will get a sense that they are responsible for doing so.

With so many events, the first Pangea Day looks to have an honest shot at causing a change in perspective for a lot of people. The films offer a wide range of perspectives to choose: (my highlights from this menu follow)

2 Men, 1 War, 33 Years On...
Having fought on opposing sides during the brutal Lebanese civil war, two men reconcile openly with their violent history to find forgiveness.

Elevator Music
Problems arise when a conservative old man walks into the same lift as a 15-year-old girl who likes to play loud music from her mobile phone.
United Kingdom

Endless Journey
Two boys from opposite sides of town have breakfast.
Sri Lanka

Ji-Hee's Candlelight
Ji-Hee, a 16-year old high school student in South Korea, let very little come between herself and her studies. But in June 2002 her world changed when two 13 year old girls were run over by a U.S. Military armored vehicle.
South Korea

Encounter Point
The most important story in the Middle East is not being told on the nightly news. The true heroes of this conflict use something more powerful than bullets and bombs. This is the story of people who lost everything except the courage to face their enemies.
Occupied Palestinian territories

Laughter Club
Laughter Club explores the world of Indian laughter clubs and the life of a man who has a dream of staging the world's first laughter competition.

Moving On
In a traffic jam in Mumbai, levels of irritation and frustration are rapidly rising. An announcement on the radio explains that the traffic situation is a lost cause as a building has collapsed up ahead, leaving everyone, in more ways than one, stuck. And, as is natural, people react in different ways.

Mutual Recognition
This short documentary offers a unique and intimate perspective into the thoughts of a Moroccan imam and his wife as they discuss their romance. They describe their thoughts about how to build a deep, trusting, and enduring relationship in this film that shows the specific ways the Islamic faith relates to the universal concepts of love and respect.

New Orleans For Sale
A gripping short film examining life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Wild Snowman
The population of wild snowmen is shrinking due to hunting and the warming of our planet.

Pale Blue Dot
In 1990, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft took a photograph of the planet Earth from a distance of 4 billion miles.

Walleyball documents the world's most illegal game of volleyball – played at the U.S.-Mexico barrier. On one side, helicopters and machine guns; on the other, mariachi bands and families sharing popsicles. Between them, a fierce battle – not of mere volleyball players, but of human citizens who would be free to play together against those forces determined to keep them apart.

The Ball
Children in Mozambique have found an interesting way to make a football.

I implore Worldchanging readers to be a part of this. Auckland readers: might see you there!

Image credit: Flickr/Looking Glass

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I admire the devotion to the needs of our planet, a selfless giving of time, thought and action by many people. Pangea Day should have a very positive impact, however far too few will notice. I managed to discover the whole concept only today through a web search begun at "Al Gore." Glad I did.

Perhaps generations from now, humans will have found ways to meet on neutral ground and thrive as a species. We could be a superior animal and could build rather than destroy our habitat.

Thanks for shing the light,
Mark Manning

Posted by: Mark Manning on 8 May 08

This is one of the most amazing opportunities for bringing the world together. I expected more publicity, something some where on the mainstream media here in the US. Not a blip on NPR this last week. I expected more large venues. Why have people been hesitant to do this? It is a large block of time, and I will have to watch it on my PC because the TV channel it is on is special and needs to be ordered, some thing I cannot afford now. People I contacted regarding being a part of their event -- churches, large auditoriums never returned my email. For me this is a not miss event, but I wanted to experience it with others. Are we all so busy, so self absorbed that we cannot take four hours out of this year to participate in this? I am interested in others thoughts.

Posted by: Mary on 10 May 08

Pangaea day is an awesome opportunity for people around the world to unite, come together, and help people understand the lives of each other. It's a shame that this event hasn't been advertised as much as it could've been. I only heard about this event today. I was browsing the web this morning, and came across it through a video off of some news site, but it only happened by chance. Prior to this, I hadn't seen any commercials or advertisements for it on the television. I agree with the above posters, this event is definitely a start in a great direction. We as a species really need to learn how to work together better.

We need to unite, and focus on building as a species, rather than destroying ourselves. The most powerful, and wealthy nations of the world, need to continue to help the poor governments and nations of the world. We are such a small dot, compared to everything else in the universe. I think we are going in a positive direction, but it will still take a lot of help and support to put an end to violence, war, greed, disease, moral corruption, etc. It only takes one to change the world, and I'm really glad that this event has been organized. I've always been a fan of these types of events, events that promote peace, unity, and understanding. I think that if we better understand each other, then it will become easier to work together.

On a side note, I think us exploring space will help unite the world. If we ever find life on other planets, things will definitely change. Ever since private organizations and companies got involved with launching spacecraft into space, the space industry has seen a rise in popularity and funding. I hope this continues to be the case for the next decades to come. Humanity needs to explore the universe, and colonize other planets; colonizing other planets will be a safeguard against natural disasters, and the depletion of Earth’s natural resources. I think as the human races advances technologically things like war, disease, and poverty will be eliminated.

If we are ever able to build “replicators” like in Star Trek, the food and water problems of the world will be solved. With nanotech, biotech, and the many other new emerging industries, I think these things may be achievable within a hundred years.

Space Mining
Planet Colonization
Fusion Power

These are just some of the things I think about when I contemplate World Peace, and humanity uniting together. Hopefully technology will help us achieve peace.

Getting back to Pangea Day, I think this event is the start of something good. We need to learn to respect, understand, and appreciate each other. We need to learn to look past racial differences, religious differences, location differences, etc. What I yearn for is a Utopian society, and many will say that’s impossible, but it’s not. It will only be a matter of time before the human race is united. I think Pangea Day is a great beginning. I hope that this event gets more coverage next year, because more people definitely need to watch this!

Posted by: Edward De Liberto on 10 May 08



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