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TO OCT. 21

In this time of taking sides, Search for Common Ground wants to encourage reconciliation and conflict resolution. So the international nongovernmental organization is sponsoring its first film festival, which debuts in Washington this weekend before traveling to several U.S. universities and then to Brussels. The festival’s themes are exemplified by Barbara Sonneborn’s Regret to Inform: A Journey in Search of Truth (pictured, at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19). Sonneborn, who will discuss her film after the screening, lost her husband in the Vietnam War and years later traveled to that country to better understand what had happened; while there, Sonneborn met and filmed women who had suffered far more than the Americans on the home front. Saturday’s films investigate similarly wrenching topics from Israel and Palestine: Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land (at 2 p.m.) is about unions among Jews, Muslims, and Christians; Mark Landsman’s Peace of Mind: Coexistence Through the Eyes of Palestinian and Israeli Teens (at 3:15 p.m.) was compiled from autobiographical video footage shot by youths; and Ilan Yagoda’s Rain 1949 (at 4:15 p.m.) chronicles the founding of a kibbutz. The screenings will be followed by discussions with Landsman and Yagoda. Sunday, the focus is on Eastern Europe: Sy Rotter’s Zegota (at 2 p.m.) documents the attempts of Polish groups to save Jews from the Nazis, and John Michalczyk’s Prelude to Kosovo: War and Peace in Bosnia and Croatia (at 2:30 p.m.) chronicles the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. A roundtable discussion with Sonneborn, Landsman, Yagoda, Rotter, and Michalczyk concludes the fest, which runs to Oct. 21 at American University’s Ward Building, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. (202) 265-4300. (Mark Jenkins)