2016 HUMANITARIAN AWARD WINNERS
The Humanitarian Award honors filmmakers who are bringing awareness to issues of Ecological, Political, Social Justice, Health and Wellness, Animals, Wildlife, Conservation and Spiritual importance and combining that with quality film making craft. Congratulations to this year’s illustrious winners who are committed to making a difference in the world. To read more about the award click here:
Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now – Jon Bowermaster
Jon Bowermaster (USA), Documentary Feature. Oscar-nominated Mark Ruffalo is an advocate of addressing climate change and renewable energy and serves as executive producer of this revealing documentary about the full cost of fracking – and the corporate and political determination to do it anyway. The film takes a cross-country look at drilling, highlighting its variety of toxic contaminants, the stories of its victims and the false promises of an economic boom. It highlights clean energy solutions that allows Americans a future that does not rely on dirty fossil fuel extraction processes. With compelling interviews, a powerful and cogent narrative and alluring cinematography this formidable documentary leaves an impact on the viewer.Get Lost In Myanmar, Melanie de Klerk (Canada) – The first in a series of news/travel programs that highlight host Sophie Lui’s firsthand examinations of various international destinations recently hit by war, natural disaster or political strife. Taking the opportunity to enlighten viewers of the historical conflicts, the effervescent and engaging host examines each destinations’ recovery from crisis, and makes it relatable to the viewer by showing the travelers why it’s safe (and beneficial) to return.
YELLOWSTONE & YOSEMITE, Oliver Goetzl (Germany) – In conjunction with National Geographic these stunning programs lead viewers on an adventure through each national parks. Complete with gorgeous visuals and intriguing stories of the wildlife and the immanent dangers that they face. Three years in the making, the filmmakers show the dedication, fortitude and innovative techniques required to master a film with wildlife stars. Features a witty, entertaining and informative script that takes the viewer on a memorable journey of loss and renewal. Award winning Director Oliver Goetzl has worked for BBC, Nat Geo, Disney and Animal Planet in exotic locations around the globe.
Generation Hope, Mary’s Meals, Charles Kinnane (United Kingdom) – Filmed on location at Mary’s Meals’ projects in Malawi, Haiti and India, this uplifting film introduces us to members of what we call ‘Generation Hope’ – the group of young people who, having received Mary’s Meals in school, have gone on to further education or paid employment, something they insist would simply not have been possible without the support provided by the organization.
Sustainable, Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher (USA) – America is facing a food crisis driven by profitability and a lack of consumer education. ‘Sustainable’ weaves together expert analysis of America’s food and farming system with a powerful narrative of one extraordinary farmer. The film unearths the future of agriculture – a marriage of age-old tradition and groundbreaking science. Industry pioneers from around the nation reveal the secrets behind human health and environmental protection.
Road to Hope, Mike Wargo (USA) – No Parents. No Food. No Future. Stranded in Sub-Saharan Africa, orphaned by an AIDS epidemic, thousands of children are left on their own, in need of a shepherd to save them. Moving, touching and inspiring it is both heart-breaking and heart-warming.
First Lady of the Revolution, Andrea Kalin (USA) – The remarkable story of Henrietta Boggs, a Southern belle who takes a life-altering journey through marriage, civil war and audacious democratic reforms to become the First Lady of Costa Rica. Filled with tragic history of a people’s lost and found hopes, and a passionate journey of life from the inside of a revolution.
Grado Mission, Carlo Christian Spano (Italy) – The film chronicles some military activities carried out by the Italian contingent in Herat and Bala Morghab, Afghanistan. By highlighting their humanitarian efforts, it humanizes the face of war, the courageous men and women who fight it, and the grateful civilians that they help along the way.
The Everglades – A Watery Wilderness, Zoltan Török, Wild Tales Productions with Doclights NDR Naturfilm (Sweden/Germany) – A film about the largest subtropical wilderness of the United States shot over several years in South Florida. Forget that dark swamp picture: the Everglades in fact is a crystal clear shallow river flowing slowly towards the sea. This is an intimate portrait of this strange but troubled watery wilderness through the stories of the animals which call it home illuminating the eminent perils that they face. In conjunction with National Geographic International.
Among the Believers, Hemal Trivedi, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, and Jonathan Goodman Levitt (USA) – Radical Islamic school, the Red Mosque, trains thousands of children to devote their lives to holy war, beginning at a very young age. Controversial Pakistani cleric Maulana Aziz, linked to the Taliban, declares jihad against the government to impose sharia law. The film follows charming yet menacing Maulana Aziz on his personal quest to create an Islamic utopia, which causes the country to implode. We meet two Red Mosque students whose paths diverge: Talha, 12, leaves his moderate Muslim family to study to be a jihadi preacher. Zarina, also 12, escapes her madrassa and joins a normal school. From Academy Award and Emmy Award winning filmmakers.
13 Shades of Romanian, Dragos Teglas and Anda Teglas (United Kingdom) – Portrays the stories of 13 Romanian people living in Britain. The narrative, constructed through their eyes and brought to you by a handful of Romanian filmmakers living in London, along with British Travel Journalist Richard Green, reveals the colorful characters and the similarities between all of us. Addresses important issues with a light hand.
16 Legs: Spider Love, Niall Doran (Australia) – Reveals the unique mating rituals of giant cave-dwelling spiders, endemic to Tasmania, who have been seeking partners in the dark since around the age of the dinosaurs and the continental breakup. It is the result of over two years of subterranean filming, 23 years of scientific research, and 200 million years of evolution.
Africa Yoga Project, Andrea Wing (Canada) – Having grown up in the slums of Nairobi, Millie & Patrick faced violence, crime, and despair. At vulnerable points in their lives, they were introduced to yoga through the Africa Yoga Project. Jian, a youth worker from Canada, travels to Kenya to meet up with to Millie & Patrick who help him to discover the transformational effect of yoga.
Being Seen, Paul Zehrer (USA) – Explores the poorly understood subculture of people living with developmental disabilities; individuals whose candid and articulate self-awareness quickly shatter preconceptions of who they are and how they think about themselves and the world — leaving us with existential questions about the meaning of “disabled” and “normal.” Rather than defining themselves by their diagnosis, individuals (young and old) strive to create meaning, meet adversity, and dream of their futures.
Called To Rescue – Redefining Our Barnyard Story, Naomi Sophia Call and Loghan Call (USA) – Showcasing the extraordinary humans who have been called to rescue through farm animal sanctuaries – opening their hearts, and often dramatically altering the course of their lives. The animals – who are being given an opportunity to live out the rest of their natural life free from torture and abuse are changing fundamental beliefs on both sides of the fence. Now viewed as teachers and ambassadors of a more conscious and peaceful future they are no longer just a commodity. A labor of compassionate love that invites everyone to awaken, and engage, their moralcompass – to embrace the effects of their everyday choices.
Dead Bird Don’t Fly, Charlie Sporns (USA) – Forced into an American high school by her parents, an isolated foreign student becomes attracted to her only friend, her female English tutor. Poignant, sad and soul searching portrayal of a family with secrets and a coming of age in an unfortunate way. Nuanced performances touch the heart.
EPA Air Pollution, Stefan Wernik (Australia) – Air Pollution. Using a simple yet evocative narrative this film explains the causes and effects and asks the question, ‘What’s the air quality like where you are today? Informative for all ages with clean clear information.
Epiphany, Michael Maes (Cayman Islands) – Follow Ellen from overcoming her fear for water to becoming a shark advocate. A real life story about conquering fear and protecting endangered animals, seen through the eyes of a wildlife photographer and mother of an autistic family.
Exodus, Sergio Postigo Cruz (Spain) – A year had already passed since the Second World War had broken out and the Nazi troops were destroying everything in their path with the ambition of conquering Europe. Hundreds of families were forced to abandon their homes to escape from that horror, with the intent of saving their lives. The story of ‘Exodus’ is focused on one of those families who leaves everything behind and shares the same fate as thousands of people like them. Just leaning on each other, they will get ahead.
Hello, Mr. Kim Tegu ? What I learned from the issue of Hansen’s disease, Hiromi Takagi (Japan) – Student Mizuki is friends with patient Mr. Kim. She learns the history of Hansen’s disease in Japan: segregated sanatoriums located in remote areas where patients were forced to break bonds with family and society.
Humble Hope, Ian Cooke (Australia) – Sexual abuse has wrecked the lives of millions of people around the world. In the struggle to recover from it, survivors battle daily with its effects. Humble Hope helps us to understand the guilt, shame and blame experienced by victims. It follows the journey with survivors, the abuse they received, their suffering, their healing and their willingness to forgive, which has given them true freedom from the past and hope for their future.
I Dream of an Omaha Where . . ., Mele Mason (USA) – Omaha has a long-standing problem with gangs and youth-on-youth violence and is one of the most dangerous cities for African American youth. This is a collaborative project involving former gang members and people who have been affected by gangs that takes the participants through intense and moving workshops culminating in the performance of a play which utilizes the transcripts of the workshops. The ‘I Dream’ project was a transformative experience for those sharing their stories, and is also changing the dialogue in Omaha and similarly affected cities about the nature and impact of gang violence.
In The Name Of Confucius, Doris Liu (Canada) – After one unassuming Chinese language teacher defected and spoke up against the Chinese government’s multi-billion dollar Confucius Institute (CI) program, One of Canada’s top 10 universities and its largest school board found themselves embroiled in a growing global controversy as scholars, parents, and officials question the CI program’s political influence and true purpose.
LOVING HENRI, Robert Allan Black (USA) – ‘Loving Henri’ is a poignant documentary that delves into the emotional life of Give Kids the World founder generous and loving Henri Landwirth, whose life of success and accolades pales in comparison to the numbness he’s desperate to overcome as a Holocaust survivor.
My Name is Grace, Jade Chamberlain (Australia) – An Australian drama set in the 1970’s. An extremist Christian couple are forced to question the morality of their routine lifestyle as the loving and bold nature of a little girl changes everyone’s lives.
OVERCAST – An Investigation into Climate Engineering, Matthias Hancke (Switzerland) – ‘Overcast’ is a groundbreaking documentary about a phenomenon that most of us would consider normal: Jet contrails that spread into clouds, covering the sky and blocking the sun. For some people however, these trails are the biggest environmental crime in the history of mankind.
Quiet Please…, Jeffrey Scott Gould (USA) – Imagine everyday sounds consuming and even destroying your life – when you suffer from Misophonia, sounds could cause a physiological reaction. It takes an emotional and psychological toll on the individuals and those closest to them.
The JJ Project, Matt Starr (USA) – Overcoming brittle bone disease and life in foster care, eleven-year-old JJ House inspires a community and directs his first musical. Inspiring and uplifting journey.
WishMakers, Cheryl Halpern (USA) – The story of the Tulip Winery that was established in a residential adult special needs community, the Village of Hope in Israel’s Jezreel Valley, and fosters a caring environment while providing employment, dignity and purpose for the residents. In addition to the satisfaction of producing world class wine they find joy and self worth in helping to grant wishes for children with life threatening illnesses.
See the Humanitarian Honorable Mention winners here: