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. 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:
Jon Bowermaster – Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now
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.
Charles Kinnane (United Kingdom), Generation Hope – 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 organisation. With a powerful score and beautiful cinematography.
Andrea Kalin (USA), First Lady of the Revolution – 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.
Mike Wargo (USA), Road to Hope – 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.
Melanie de Klerk (Canada), Get Lost In Myanmar – 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. Our host examines each destinations’ recovery from crisis, and shows fellow travelers why it’s safe (and beneficial) to return.
Zoltan Török, Wild Tales Productions with Doclights NDR Naturfilm (Sweden/Germany), The Everglades – A Watery Wilderness – A film about the largest subtropical wilderness of the United States that we have shot for 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.
Oliver Goetzl (Germany), YOSEMITE & YELLOWSTONE – In conjunction with National Geographic these stunning programs leads the viewer on an adventure through the national parks complete with gorgeous visuals and intriguing stories of the wildlife that call these places home. The filmmakers show the dedication, fortitude and innovative techniques required to master a film with wildlife stars and highlight in relatable ways the crisis in habitat, climate change and human threats to their existence. Features witty, entertaining and informative scripts. Award winning Director Oliver Goetzl has worked for BBC, Nat Geo, Disney and Animal Planet in exotic locations around the globe.
Carlo Christian Spano (Italy), Grado Mission – The film chronicles some military activities carried out by the Italian contingent in Herat and Bala Morghab, Afghanistan. The film features nine chapters with an ink on paper aphorism design by the Iranian artist Roham Fayazi. These enchantingly crafted phrases embody an acute observation that confronts reality with the truth of each chapter. Within all wonders, this non-fictional film aims to not only grab the attention of a military audience. It rather appeals to captivate us with the beauty of each crescendo of testimonies of courageous soldiers in their outstanding mission.
Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher (USA), Sustainable – America is facing a food crisis driven by profitability and a lack of consumer education. While the window to transforming our heartland continues to shrink, passionate individuals have emerged who provide hope that the health of our nation might still remain within our grasp. Sustainable weaves together expert analysis of America’s food and farming system with a powerful narrative of one extraordinary farmer who is determined to create a sustainable future for his community. 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.
Niall Doran (Australia) 16 Legs: Spider Love – Sixteen Legs: Spider Love’ which reveals the unique mating rituals of giant cave-dwelling spiders, endemic to Tasmania, who have been seeking partners in the dark since around the first 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.
Paul Zehrer (USA), Being Seen – Bay Area filmmakers, Paul Zehrer and Chikara Motomura, spent over three years following individuals living with developmental disabilities throughout the Bay Area. “Being Seen” 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.
Naomi Sophia Call and Loghan Call (USA), Called To Rescue Redefining Our Barnyard Story – A glimpse into farm animal sanctuaries: the founders, staff, volunteers, and residents – the animals – who are being given an opportunity to live out the rest of their natural life free from torture and abuse. These animals, simply by who they are, are changing lives, lifestyles and 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 moral compass – to embrace the effects of their everyday choices.
Charlie Sporns (USA), Dead Bird Don’t Fly – Forced into an American high school by her parents, an isolated foreign student becomes attracted to her only friend, her female English tutor. A painful look at the realities of cultural expectations, parental judgement, perceptions of LGBT communities and coming-of-age and identity with no love or support.
Sergio Postigo Cruz (Spain), Exodus – Nazi troops raze everything in their path with the intention of conquering Europe. Hundreds of families leave their homes in the hope of surviving.
Matt Starr (USA), The JJ Project – Overcoming brittle bone disease and life in foster care, eleven-year-old JJ House inspires a community and directs his first musical.
Ian Cooke (Australia), Humble Hope – 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.
Samaritan’s Purse (USA), Facing Darkness – A Christian relief organization is met with the challenge of fighting the Ebola epidemic in west Africa, through this enormous challenge their faith grew.
Hiromi Takagi (Japan), Hello, Mr. Kim Tegu: What I learned from the issue of Hansen’s disease – 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.
Robert Allan Black (USA), LOVING HENRI – A poignant documentary that delves into the emotional life of Give Kids the World founder Henri Landwirth, whose life of success and accolades pales in comparison to the numbness he’s desperate to overcome. Accolades and success mean nothing to Henri as he searches to free himself from the numbness that haunts his life so he will be free to love one woman as fully as he imagines his father loved his mother.
Michael Maes (Cayman Islands), Epiphany – Epiphany is a true story about love, autism, nature, passion, fear, determination, perseverance and making daunting choices in life.
Matthias Hancke (Switzerland), OVERCAST – An Investigation into Climate Engineering – 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.
Dragos Teglas and Anda Teglas (United Kingdom), 13 Shades of Romanian – 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, as well as Richard Green, British Travel Journalist reveals the way Romanians live, work and integrate within the British culture.
Stefan Wernik (Australia), EPA 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?
Mele Mason (USA), I Dream of an Omaha Where . . . – Omaha has a long-standing problem with gangs and youth-on-youth violence and is one of the most dangerous cities to live in for African American youth. The film is a collaborative project involving former gang members and people who have been affected by gangs. The project, moderated by nationally known performer and writer Daniel Beaty, takes the participants through intense and moving workshops to a performance of a play which utilizes the transcripts of the workshops.
Jeffrey Scott Gould (USA), Quiet Please… – 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.
Jade Chamberlain (Australia), My Name is Grace – A 20 minute Australian drama set in the 1970’s. An extremist Christian couple are forced to question the morality of their routine lifestyle and the impact that it makes on their daughter.
Hemal Trivedi, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, and Jonathan Goodman Levitt (USA), Among the Believers – profiles Pakistani cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, a Taliban and ISIS supporter whose organization is using schools to spread his form of radical Islam. A heart breaking look inside the lives of these formerly innocent children. On the long list for Oscar consideration.
Cheryl Halpern (USA), WishMakers – 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.
Doris Liu (Canada), In The Name Of Confucius – 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.
Andrea Wing (Canada), Africa Yoga Project – 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.