This month kicks off the 38th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) and one of the films I am looking forward to seeing is the documentary Beyond the Walls. This film, directed by Gayle Embry (who has a graduate degree in art therapy!) features the amazing global movement of mural art as a means for empowerment and giving a voice to marginalized and oppressed populations.
All over the world, people from different cultures instinctively go to the walls, painting their stories as a way to give voice to their life experiences. In Beyond The Walls, we enter the murals for a personal view of lives affected by violence, poverty or conflict. Beyond The Walls brings to life the impact of traumatic events on those who survive. (beyondthewallsthefilm.com)
Check out the film’s trailer here:
CIFF tickets go on sale to the public on March 7. Beyond the Walls is being screened on three nights: March 22, March 23, and March 24. Check out the CIFF site here for more information and how to buy tickets.
It’s exciting to see that there’s a growing body of work and projects about the benefits of mural and street art for advocacy, reclamation, transformation, and healing.
- Prison Murals: Inmates and Crime Victims Create Together, Psychology Today by David Gussak about Concrete, Steel, and Paint and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
- Panmela Castro: Saving Lives Through Graffiti, featured in the book Vital Voices by Alyse Nelson
- Mentoring Peace Through Art Fights Gang Activity with Murals, Jimmy Longoria
- Mural Arts and Mental Health Providers Show Value of Art As Therapy, Porch Light Program
- Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project
- JR Projects : JR’s “work mixes Art and Act, talks about commitment, freedom, identity and limit.”
If you are in the Cleveland area between March 22-24 (or the film comes to city near you) Beyond the Walls looks like a great opportunity to learn more about this powerful form of expression as a tool for awareness, action, and change.