Peery Film Festival aims to inspire social change

Community members gather to watch documentaries at last year’s Peery Film Festival. The film festival is free, but attendees are required to register due to limited seating. (BYU Ballard Center)

The BYU Ballard Center will be hosting the Peery Film Festival on Oct. 19-20 in hopes of inspiring students and the community to “do good.”

Several award-winning documentaries will be shown throughout the festival, each highlighting specific social problems and solutions. The Ballard Center is partnering with other BYU centers and schools to sponsor the films.

Some documentaries will be followed up by a panel of experts who will expound on the film’s topic. Ballard Center event manager Rose Palmer said the films will inspire questions that the panels will then be able to discuss.

“A lot of BYU students have the desire to do good,” Palmer said. “This is a way of helping students expand their worldview and perspective.”

Winning submissions of the first-ever Changemaker Film Competition will also be shown during the festival. The film competition challenged students and alumni to create short films highlighting a social problem and how that problem is being solved. Viewers at the festival will be able to vote on their favorite submissions, and winners will be announced after the final screening.

Alison Brand, a student and the Ballard Center’s graphic designer, encouraged people to attend the event.

“It’s a really eye-opening experience to hear about things that are going on the in world,” she said. “It’s also inspiring to see so many people trying to fix them.”

Another unique aspect of this year’s festival is the Changemaker Fair. The fair will provide opportunities to connect with organizations working on social change on and off campus.

Ballard Center communications director Alicia Gettys said the fair is an excellent way to learn about ways to make a difference.

“It is one thing to learn about a social problem,” Gettys said. “But it’s another thing to actually do something about it.”

The fair will be located in the Wilkinson Student Center Terrace from 6 to 8 p.m. on both days of the film festival.

Specific times, dates and locations of each film and activity can be found on the festival’s website. Attendees can register for the event for free by Oct. 19.

The main goal of the film festival is to educate and encourage attendees to take action, Gettys said.

“We want students and alumni to have a deep understanding of societal problems,” she said. “And we hope they get inspired to change.”

The Ballard Center aims to help students and alumni become leaders in social innovation. It offers multiple ways students can get involved in social change, including classes, clubs, competitions and internships. The center also sponsors TEDxBYU, a yearly event that invites speakers to share new and innovative ideas about changing the world.

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