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Press Release on a film about non-violence conflicts of the

December 14, 1999

A premier screening of the documentary film "A Force More Powerful, a Century of Nonviolent Conflict" was held on December 9 at a function organised by the US Institute of Peace, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in Washington D.C.  The Mayor of Washington D.C., Anthony Williams, and Ambassador of India to US, Mr. Naresh Chandra joined the Washington-based Filmmaker, Steve York and the Chairman of the Santa Monica Pictures L.L.C., Peter Ackerman.

The feature length documentary presents one of the 20th century's most important and inspiring stories - the victory of nonviolent power over oppression and authoritarian rule.  It explores three situations in which freedom was achieved through the philosophy and methods developed by Mahatma Gandhi of India.  The first segment documents Gandhi's fight for India's independence from British rule and includes powerful episodes from history where nonviolence overcame injustice, discrimination and authoritanism.  The film then focuses on 1959 Nashville protests led by Rev. James Lawson who had studied Gandhi's philosophy and method in India.  The final segment of the film concerns Mkhuseli Jack, one of the most prominent leaders in South Africa whose inspired boycotts hastened the end of apartheid in that country.

The film brings to the fore the originality, courage and moral superiority of the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, the leading personality of the 20th century.  In his own words, nonviolence became "a priceless and matchless weapon.  Those who wield it are strangers to disappointment and defeat."  The greatness of these ideas was clearly a powerful force behind the making of the film.  In the words of Producer-Director-Writer Steve York, "when I was in India, I walked along the dusty road leading to the beach where Gandhi broke the salt law.  It looks about the same as it did in 1930. The place is nothing special, it's what Gandhi did there that's remarkable…...".  Several speakers paid tributes to Gandhi identifying him as the Man of the Century.