Wednesday, September 26, 2012

9 Pieces of Peace: the story of Missoula's peace sign, a Vietnam vet and a peace activist

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM

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From 1983 to 2001, there was a large peace sign that overlooked Missoula from Water Works Hill. The sign was rebelliously painted onto a 30-foot-high telecommunications reflector panel owned by US West. It was taken down, and people put it back up—until it was taken down for good and divided into nine pieces, which are fondly housed by people all over town.

Many Missoulians loved the peace sign and some hated it. An upcoming documentary titled 9 Pieces of Peace isn’t just about a symbol or about a bunch of peaceniks who wax nostalgia about a sign. Director Jan Selby, who has won regional Emmys with films made through her Quiet Island Films company, also documents a story about a Vietnam veteran named Dan Gallagher and the executive director of the the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, who both had very different feelings about the peace sign—and each other—until they started talking.

Selby is almost done with her film. From the looks of the trailer (see below), it’s a heart-wrenching story about finding common ground in Missoula, and about two people who decided that they’d listen to one another. In doing so, the two have become amazing role models.

Selby hopes to raise the rest of her money on Kickstarter to finish post-production on the film, and you can check out her campaign here. (It ends on Sept. 30, so if you want to invest in the project, do it soon. She still, as of this blog post, has $10,000 more to raise.)

Her film is an important historical piece about the peace sign, but it’s also a reminder—in times when we probably need some reminding—that Missoula has great people who do step up to the plate and make good things happen. Plus, you’ll recognizes some famous Missoulians in the interviews, including Bruce Micklus of Rockin Rudy’s and former Missoula mayor Dan Kemmis.

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