The People’s Film Festival Ends On a High Note.
[New York, NY – May 20, 2012] – The four day, 1st Annual People’s Film Festival presented by Four Builders Foundation, ended on a high note Saturday May 19, at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem, NY, in which scours of people came out for the closing night screening of “9 Eleven” –the exciting Hindi suspense thriller that took home Best Featured Film. This was followed by The People’s Award ceremony in which award recipients were announced.
“We salute all the filmmakers who were selected in the Peoples’ Film Festival, says Veronica Keitt, founder and executive director of the People’s Film Festival. Our objective was to celebrate the stories that offer a universal appeal; embraces the people and stories that matter to them, and ultimately push the boundaries of today’s new media.” During her closing night remarks Ms Keitt states that the paradigm shift in technology in which the everyday person now has the ability to pick up a camera and tell their stories, has opened up a new dynamic in media in which we were seeing more stories that matter to the everyday people. “Today’s new technology has not only leveled the playing field but it also introduced new players into the game- the people. Tonight and many more years to come we celebrate the people’s (media)”, said Ms Keitt.
The People’s Film Festival showcased a diverse film lineup from 5 different countries, and was attended by many of the filmmakers, including director of “Grandpa Was A Freedom Rider, Martial Buisson from Paris, and Director of Rwanda Rushya, Samuel Yerraguntla from Canada who were present throughout the festival. ”We have films from all over the world”, says Ms Keitt, “Like music and sports, films (or movies) is a unifying, common denominator that unites us all. Our vision was to bring the people together through media and what better way to do it then to have a film festival”.
The winners of The People’s Award are:
Best Featured Film
Director/Producer(s): Manan Singh Katohora/ Sadhna Mathur/ Narain Kumar Mathur
9 Eleven portrays the life of 11 people who belong to different walks of life. Though each individual has achieved a measure of success in their individual lives, their darkest secrets come out in the open when all of them are given some time for introspection, when they meet each other in a bizarre twist of vents. They realize that their lives are inter-woven and this literally shakes up their peaceful lives. Terrorized to the core by an unknown entity in an unfamiliar place, each individual is petrified and is hesitant to talk or take each other into confidence for one simple reason….The Fear of the Unknown.
The film ‘9-Eleven’ is a fast paced thriller with undertones of terrorism. Terrorism need not be political, ‘ideologically’ generated or xenophobic. Terrorism can also be a great motivator for conflict resolution or revenge. The question is how does one survive collectively in meeting this growing phenomenon…….head on?
Best Documentary (USA)
Director: Chanda Chevannes
Based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Living Downstream follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she works to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. Living Downstream is a powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land and water.
Best Documentary (USA)
Director: Doris L Mangrum / Michael Lange
“STAINS: Changing Lives After Incarceration”, brings attention to the plight of the formerly incarcerated, the stigma associated with them and the families they leave behind. The film calls on society to step up and help to remove that stigma. “STAINS confronts those challenges.
Best Short Doc (USA)
Free the Network
Director: Erin Lee Carr/ Brian Anderson
Free the Network looks at the way Occupy is deploying DIY hack-tech to distribute the meme that is OWS, and how this ingenuity is reshaping political discourse and the very nature of protest. The film follows a pair of Occupiers who run the Free Network Foundation, a peer-to-peer communications project aiming to liberate the global Internet form corporate control by creating a decentralized, cooperatively own, free network, one Wi-FI tower at a time.
Best Tech Award
A Day In The Life of Occupy Wall Street: a (r)evolution in democracy and consciousness (USA)
Directed/ Producer: Barbara Green Editor: Catherine Hollander
Using an iPhone 4, filmmaker Barbara Green produces an intimate portrayal of daily life, creative activities, & citizen activists of all ages & backgrounds voicing different concerns & grievances; determined to change the broken political, economic, & social system failing to meet the needs of the 99%.
Best International (Canada)
Director: Samuel Yerraguntla/ Juan Botero
The film looks at Rwanda from the eyes of Sophia, a high school student, a mother to her 2 siblings and an optimist who one day wants to be the Minister of Education, and Albert, an Engineer who believes that education alone can liberate a nation.
Best International / Honorable Mention
La Mirada Perdida “The Missing Looks (Argentina)
Director: Damien Dionisio
In 1976, Claudio’s political ideals force him to go into hiding with his family. One day their temporary home is discovered. With no time to escape, Claudio desperately sets about trying to protect his family. His wife, Teresa, concerned over what their daughter may witness, decides to distance her as much as possible from the horror she is about to experience.
Best International / Honorable Mention
The Imprudence (Korea/USA)
Director: Jonghee, Kim
Mijin, which is immigrant to America for one year decides to take care of other families children. The kid’s acts are unusual. Mijin realizes something is wrong with the kids.
The Peoples Spirit Award - Lew Zuchman
A man who “walks the walk and talks the talk!” Lewis (Lew) Zuchman is a 1961 original Freedom Rider whose activism spans over 50 years. Currently he is the Executive Director SCAN. He holds a Master Degree in Social Work from Columbia University (1974). Under Zuchman’s stewardship, SCAN funding has increased from $750K to $20M and the number of clients has grown from 150 families and 300 children to 400 families and 5000 children.
Prior to joining, Zuchman was Associate Executive Director at Edwin Gould Services for Children. He serves on the Board of several community organizations, including the Human Service Consortium of East Harlem (founding President and current Co-Chairperson) and has played a prominent role in empowering New York’s City’s Latino communities, including serving as a consultant to PROGRESS (Puerto Rican Organization for Research, Education and Self Sufficiency). He is an Adjunct Professor at Hostos Community College (a division of CUNY in the Bronx).
He has been recognized for his significant contributions to the civil rights movement in recent books, including “Breach of Peace” and “The Freedom Riders”. Zuchman’s Freedom Rider experience and professional career addressing the needs of inner city African-American and Latino young people is being highlighted in a documentary film currently in production.
The Chance Award – Darryl Stith
The Chance Award, honors the spirit of Chance Anderson, a renowned filmmaker, producer, screenwriter and actor, whose work was typically classified as provocative and yet cutting edge. We pay tribute to Darryl Stith for his innovation and vision.
MORE ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
The People’s Film Festival celebrates the power of the media when placed in the hands of the people. The festival features screenings from emerging producers, videographers, and filmmakers from all over the world, reflecting both traditional and avant-garde style films, with an emphasis on films that integrate multiple digital platforms using today’s new media & technology. The categories range from narratives, features, shorts, and documentaries including a special category for films about the Worldwide Occupy Wall St Movement (WWOWS). The winners will be recognized closing night after the final screening with a People’s Award.