Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Local Pangea Day - May 10, 2008

On Saturday Utahns gathered in Park City to watch 24 short films created by international filmmakers and hear speeches by celebrities and world leaders broadcasted from Los Angeles during a film festival about bridging cultural boundaries.

“Stories are powerful, and if we are to understand one another … in our increasingly small world, we must listen to and learn from each other’s stories,” said Queen Noor of Jordan.

The 4-hour film festival, named Pangea Day after the prehistoric supercontinent, was headquartered in Los Angeles and broadcast to apartments, theaters and venues across the world in seven languages. Other main locations including Cairo, London, and Rio de Janeiro also broadcasted music, interviews, and films.

The films showed a variety of genres and settings such as the conditions or ideas in the Middle East and Africa. They also covered interviews with people from many countries about subjects such as happiness, sadness, and laughter.

Many members of small audience in Park City’s Eccles Center showed interest in the event and said their understanding was benefited from watching.

"We are really basically all the same," said Utah resident Elise Lazar.

The event idea was initiated by filmmaker, Jehane Noujaim, who received the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) prize which grants its winner $100,000 in an effort to fulfill “one wish to change the world.”

"How can films change the world?" said actress Cameron Diaz, "Well, they can't. But the people who watch them can."

A highlight of the event was a unison of beating drums from many different cultures, symbolizing the bridging of cultures into one heartbeat, said Mahtab Sohrevardi, who watched the event from the Park City theater.

Terri Orr, executive director of the Park City Performing Arts Festival planned the local broadcast after learning about Pangea Day during a TED Conference.

"It's time for us to start seeing possibilities instead of obstacles," said Orr.

Pangea Day was also a way to commemorate the Park City Eccles Center's 10th Year Anniversary, said Orr.

The Eccles Center was the only location in Utah that provided a public venue for the event.

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