Steven Hoffen couldn’t be prouder as a 7th grader as his short film, ‘Growing Peace in the Middle East’ makes it to the final at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the state. The 17-minute short film about hydroponics was selected as a finalist in the 16th annual Peachtree Village International Film Festival (PVIFF) in Atlanta, GA. PVIFF will take place virtually online from Oct. 21st -23rd and Steven’s ‘Growing Peace in the Middle East’ will be available online on demand throughout the festival.
During a visit to Israel, Steven who is from New York (and who is currently a 7th grader at Riverdale Country School) was inspired by a visit to Sindyanna of Galilee. The Sindyanna is a non-profit organization led by a team of Arab and Jewish women working together to create social change from the ground up. Through remote interviews conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, he documented the hydroponics project at Sindyanna. This project strives to create economic opportunities for Arab women, to showcase the power of sustainability and science in uniting the Arab and Jewish communities
This is a great project as hydroponics is the revolutionary future of food. Not only does it allow growers produce food anywhere in the world, it allows for healthier plants for the world and higher yields for the growers. Hydroponics is however, simply a way to skip the soil, sub in a different material to support the roots of the plant, and grow crops directly in nutrient-rich water. Hydroponic farming allows the farmer to regulate the frequency of supplying nutrients and also allow them control the growing environment of plants.
Steven’s documentary reveals how this new farming technology helps both farmers, buyers and the community at large.
Growing Peace in the Middle East has been awarded, nominated, or selected to nearly 75 film festivals, including the accolades of Best Student Director (Short Film Documentary) & Best Short Film Documentary at the Seattle Film Festival, 2nd Prize at the International Human Rights Arts Festival, and a selection to the Astoria Film Festival, and the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival.
Commenting on how he felt about being selected as a finalist in the prestigious PVIFF, Steven said, “It’s an amazing honor to have been selected to your film festival. Thank you so much and congratulations to everyone else selected.’’
Steven has also started a non-profit called Growing Peace Inc., based on the title of the movie, that will promote hydroponic farming to help address food insecurity, and as a tool to address many problems in society.