Five Questions: Creative Action Unlimited’s Michael Kennedy and Voices for Peace

Creative Action Unlimited‘s newest film, “Voices for Peace” premieres at the Madison Theater Friday at 7:30 pm. “Voices for Peace” is a combination documentary and film where real life peace activists and actor counterparts discuss their work as anti-war activists. Director Michael Kennedy took some time to discuss the upcoming project with Nippertown.

1. Where did you meet the activists in the film? 

Maureen Aumand, a local peace activist and theater artist, served as consultant on this film. Maureen was able to connect us with the local activists who participated in a panel discussion as part of the film and established the connections among the internationally known peace activists, directors, and  actors.

2. Tell me about the process in creating this project –

We knew from the start that we wanted to have a mix of documentary style interviews with local activists, as well as actors presenting the words of specific internationally-known peace activists. After the actors were cast, everyone researched the topic of anti-war efforts and learned more about the activists that the actors were going to interview. Each actor then participated in a recorded interview with the activist they were going to portray and those interviews were reviewed and edited for script material. John Stevenson and I are both editors and this part of the process was a great opportunity for us to combine our editing approaches in a creative way! 

We filmed a live, unscripted panel discussion and interviews with local people who are involved in anti-war work and then we filmed the actors presenting the words of the activists they interviewed. The actors were encouraged to present the spirit of the person they were portraying rather than doing an “impersonation” and they have done incredible work in this film.

3. What should audiences expect? 

Voices for Peace asks audience members to consider the compelling argument for prioritizing anti-war efforts and to recognize the ways in which the military-industrial complex intersects with other important social issues, including classism, racism, and patriarchy. The film is a mix of documentary and performance.

4. How is [Voices for Peace] different from your other films? 

This is our first documentary film and our first production about this topic. Although it is always a priority for us that a script be created through interviews with people who have real life experience about the topic we are exploring, this is the first time that we have cast actors to play the specific people who were interviewed. The fact that the people who were interviewed are internationally known and passionately involved in changing the course of history has been a really exciting process for everyone.

And, although we have done a lot of theater together, this is the first time that my husband and I have co-directed. It’s particularly rewarding to know that, as in all things, we were able to navigate difficult moments during this creative process and stay connected to each other!

5. How can people become involved if they are called to do so? 

As always, a primary goal of our productions is to move our audiences to take action, so thanks for this question! Many wonderful local and International peace organizations are referenced in the film. As a start, check out the Kateri Peace Conference, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Veterans for Peace, and Women Against War. 

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