The 12th annual Social Impact Media Awards is honored to present this year’s winners:
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE WINNERS
To Kill a Tiger
On the night of a family wedding in a village in India, Ranjit’s 13-year-old daughter is abducted and sexually assaulted by three men. Ranjit takes on the fight of his life when he demands the men be brought to justice. With tremendous access to all facets of this story, To Kill a Tiger charts the emotional journey of an ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances—a father whose love for his daughter forces a social reckoning that will reverberate for years to come.
Director(s): Nisha Pahuja
Producer(s): Nisha Pahuja, Cornelia Principe, David Oppenheim
India | 127 minutes
Language(s): Hindi & Nagpuri
The Eternal Memory (La Memoria Infinita)
Augusto and Paulina have been in love for 25 years, each with careers at the nexus of culture in Chile. Eight years ago, their lives were forever changed by Augusto’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Together, they face the challenge head-on with affection and a sense of humor that is their bedrock.
Director(s): Maite Alberdi
Producers: Maite Alberdi, Juan De Dios Larrain, Pablo Larrain, Rocio Jadue; Executive Producers: Marcela Santivanez, Daniela Sandoval, Nicholas Hooper, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Rebecca Lictenfeld, Sheila Nevins, Nina L. Diaz, Liza Burnett Fefferman
Chile | 84 minutes
Against the backdrop of the civil war in the Central African Republic, a Chinese construction manager and local African laborer work on opposite ends of the spectrum to construct a sparkling new bank. As deadlines loom, unexpected twists threaten their jobs, relationships, and plans for a better life. An eye-opening drama about these two men in their pursuit of wealth and happiness.
Director(s): Ningyi Sun & Pascale Appora-Gnekindy
Producer(s): Mathieu Faure
Central African Republic; China | 94 minutes
Language(s): Sango; Mandarin; French
Subtitles: English, French, Chinese
BEST EDITING AND BEST SOUND
Between the Rains
Filmed with stunning cinematography over four years, Between the Rains explores a childhood caught within a traditional culture that is a casualty of climate change. During a period of record low rainfall in northern Kenya, the Turkana tribe faces growing violent clashes with rival tribes and encroaching wild predators hunting their livestock. Kolei, a sensitive shepherd boy whose name translates to “living amongst the goats”, questions not only his path as a warrior, but also the erosion of the culture that has shaped every aspect of his life. With unprecedented and intimate access to the Turkana people, this moving coming-of-age story reveals the grave threats facing one of the world’s oldest communities.
Director(s): Andrew H. Brown, Moses Thuranira
Producer(s): Samuel Ekomol
Kenya | 82 minutes
Language(s): Turkana, Swahili
SYSTEMIC CHANGE AWARD
SPONSORED BY THE FOUNDATION FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE (FSC)
Pay or Die
PAY OR DIE explores the crushing financial reality for millions of insulin-dependent Americans living with diabetes, as pharmaceutical companies push the price of this life-saving medication.
Director(s): Scott Alexander Ruderman, Rachael Dyer
Producer(s): Rachael Dyer, Scott Alexander Ruderman, Yael Melamede, Sheila Nevins, Trish Adlesic, Sarah Silverman, Amy Zvi, Regina K. Scully, Lauran Bromely, Douglas Choi, Dawn Bonder, Marci Wiseman, Russell Long, Sarah Lucas, Zak Kilberg, Toby Shimin
USA | 76 minutes
DOCUMENTARY JURY PRIZE WINNERS
STYLISTIC ACHIEVEMENT JURY PRIZE
A funeral car cruises the streets of Medellín, while a young director tells the story of his past in this violent and conservative city. He remembers the pre-production of his first film, a B-movie with ghosts. The young queer scene of Medellín is cast for the film, but the main protagonist dies of a heroin overdose at the age of 21, just like many friends of the director. ANHELL69 explores the dreams, doubts and fears of an annihilated generation, and the struggle to carry on making cinema.
Director(s): Theo Montoya
Producer(s): Bianca Oana, David Hurst, Theo Montoya, Juan Pablo Castrillon
Colombia | 74 minutes
ETHOS JURY PRIZE
Mourning In Lod
The fates of three families are inextricably intertwined in a vicious cycle of violence in the city of Lod, Israel, where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side. The outpouring of love, anger and forgiveness that follows offers a glimpse of morning light to offset a collective state of seemingly endless mourning.
Director(s): Hilla Medalia
Producer(s): Hilla Medalia, Sheila Nevins, Rotem Heyman, Hanna Abu Saada
Israel, Palestine | 73 minutes
Language(s): Arabic, Hebrew
TRANSPARENCY JURY PRIZE
Aaju Peter is a force of nature. She is a renowned Greenlandic Inuit lawyer and activist who defends the human rights of Indigenous peoples of the Arctic, and a fierce protector of her ancestral lands. She works to bring her colonizers in both Canada and Denmark to justice and deploys her effusive spirit and illuminating wit to provoke self-examination and personal responsibility among Westerners for imposing their colonial ways. As Aaju launches an effort to establish an Indigenous forum at the European Union, she also embarks upon a complex and deeply personal journey to mend her own wounds, including the unexpected passing of her youngest son.
In this inspiring, emotionally powerful documentary, the beautiful lens of director Lin Alluna journeys alongside an extraordinary human being as she plumbs through the social and personal wreckage of sanctioned white dominance to find the strength within her abilities, her community, and her own vulnerabilities to transform her hardships and painful experiences into something amazing that can inspire others who also struggle with the poisonous effects of colonialism.
Director(s): Lin Alluna
Producer(s): Emile Hertling Péronard, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Stacey Aglok Macdonald Producer, Bob Moore
Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Sweden | 92 minutes
LENS TO ACTION JURY PRIZE
The Barber of Little Rock
The Barber of Little Rock explores America’s widening racial wealth gap through the story of Arlo Washington, a local barber whose visionary approach to a just economy can be found in the mission of People Trust, the nonprofit community bank he founded.
Director(s): Christine Turner, John Hoffman
Producer(s): Christina Avalos
USA | 35 minutes
DOCUMENTARY SHORT WINNERS
BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY
میشه بغلت کنم؟ (CAN I HUG YOU?)
In the city of Qom, the most restricted city in Iran, there are many restrictions on human rights such as mandatory hijab to assure sexual safety; Hossein (M, 30) grew up in this environment and experienced multiple sexual assaults by men, despite these measures. Due to stereotypes around masculinity, he never talked about it. With the support of his wife, Elahe, he now confronts the trauma.
Director: Elahe Esmaili
Producer: Hossein Behboudi Rad
Iran | 35 minutes
BEST DIRECTOR AND BEST SOUND (SHORT DOCUMENTARY)
Last Song from Kabul
The music stopped when the Taliban took over Afghanistan – it was forbidden, the penalty, death. Young girls who belonged to a music school had to go into hiding where they feared for themselves and their families. Now orphans with broken hearts, The Last Song From Kabul directed by Kevin McDonald (Oscar® winning The Last King of Scotland) tells the riveting, heroic story of their escape to Portugal where they try to rebuild their fractured lives and begin to play music again.
Director(s): Kevin Macdonald
Producer(s): Sophie Daniel, Katie Buchanan, Sheila Nevins, Lawrence Elman, Nick Fraser, Duncan Heath, Francis Hopkinson, Jessica Lustig, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, Nina L. Diaz, Liza Burnett Fefferman, Joe Easts
Afghanistan, Portugal | 34 minutes
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (SHORT DOCUMENTARY)
Into the Blue
12-year-old Tatheer embarks on a week-long Police boot camp for girls from a social housing estate in Copenhagen. Far from home, deep in the woods, she navigates grueling rituals, elusive social dynamics, and personal setbacks to find her place in this tender and revealing coming-of-age story.
Director(s): Ömer Sami
Denmark | 28 minutes
BEST EDITING (SHORT DOCUMENTARY)
Jack and Sam
“Jack and Sam”- a poignant documentary about two Holocaust survivors miraculously reunited after 80 years. Now in their late 90s, they are spending the precious time they have left rekindling their friendship and educating others about the dangers of hatred.
Director: Jordan Matthew Horowitz
Executive Producers: Sarah Silverman, Julianna Margulies
Producers: Andrew Carlberg, Jordan Matthew Horowitz
USA | 20 minutes
IMPACT VIDEO WINNERS
IMPACT JURY PRIZE
SPONSORED BY MILATIDO
Set in the Kono district of Sierra Leone, this documentary film captures the beauty of blackness through the lens of the youth coming of age amid a skin-bleaching epidemic.
Ages 13-20, these Sierra Leone natives are all impacted by the rise and popularity of skin- bleaching products targeted to their community. From best friends torn by colorism to a Muslim girl conflicted by her religious upbringing and changing her appearance to a star athlete whose career and health are at stake due to skin bleaching, ifine follows six young people impacted by skin bleaching practices infiltrating their rural community.
While this documentary exposes billion-dollar industries preying on poverty-stricken communities by encouraging them to lighten their complexions regardless of the harmful impact on their health and psyche, this film also affirms the natural beauty of these young people and reminds them of who they are. Ifine—a Krio term that means beauty—brilliantly captures these youth and their bravery to be seen.
Director(s): Adisa Septuri, Ebony Gilbert
Producer(s): Adisa Septuri, Ebony Gilbert, Alex Ivany
Sierra Leone | 30 minutes
Language(s): Sierra Leone Creole
INNOVATION JURY PRIZE
SPONSORED BY MILATIDO
One Million Experiments
One Million Experiments is a film exploring how we define and create wellness and reduce harm in a world without police and prisons. Built out of a podcast and curated collection of community-based safety projects created in the midst of the 2020 uprising, One Million Experiments celebrates the work already happening to build solutions that are grounded in transformation instead of punishment and invites you to participate in the joyous work of liberation. We don’t need one answer to how we get free–we need one million experiments.
Director(s): Caullen Hudson
USA, Puerto Rico | 29 minutes
CREATIVE ACTIVISM AWARD
Blending personal interviews with dramatized genre recreations, THE SCRIPT explores the complicated relationship between trans and nonbinary communities and medical providers regarding gender affirming care. With a playful approach toward experimentation, the film invites its participants and its audience to examine the limits of language and the nature of performance in building safe and affirming futures.
Director(s): Brit Fryer, Noah Schamus
Producer(s): Colleen Cassingham
USA | 15 minutes
This Is Where I Learned Not To Sleep
Part quest for justice – part journey towards healing. Decorated Nashville cop Mark Wynn wrestles with his own violent childhood while working to reform decades of domestic violence mishandling, cover-ups, and abuse from deep within law enforcement.
“I lived with a monster. I know how this works.” With access to sensitive police trainings, the film explores the complex relationship between law enforcement and family violence and brings a nuanced dialogue on accountability in connection to crimes against women. Lt. Wynn inspires communities – and especially men — to stand up to better support women and children victims.
Director(s): Kirsten Kelly, Anne De Mare
Producer(s): Andrew W. Schwertfeger
USA | 38 min
XR + AI WINNERS
(EXTENDED REALITY + ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE)
CREATIVE ADVOCACY JURY PRIZE
SPONSORED BY MILATIDO
Colored is a one of a kind augmented reality installation at the crossroads of theatre and digital arts.
“Take a deep breath, exhale, you are now in Montgomery in Alabama in the 1950s”: let the French author Tania de Montaigne be your guide. Adapted from her biographical essay published in 2015, winner of the 2015 Simone Veil Prize, Colored brings to life and questions a forgotten page in the history of the civil rights movement in the United States.
This experience plunges the audience into the Deep South during segregation. In the course of that journey, we meet the young Claudette Colvin, 15 years old who, on March 2, 1955, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Nine months later, Rosa Parks repeated this act of defiance and became the icon that history remembers to this day…
Director(s): Pierre-Alain Giraud and Stéphane Foenkinos
Producer(s): Emanuela Righi
France | 32 minutes
IMMERSIVE IMPACT AWARD
Lou : Enfant (Lou : Kid)
There are as many ways to be autistic as there are autistic people. LOU – Kid/Teen lets people experience what it’s like to be in the body of an autistic child named Lou, to see and hear through his eyes and ears. Lou is a character inspired by our own children and other autistic people. This VR experience is a metaphoric interpretation, based on the life experiences that were shared with us. Several autistic people participated as actors, creators and advisors.
Director(s)/Producer(s): Martine Asselin & Annick Daigneault
Canada | 20 minutes
Language(s): French or English
PRODUCTION COMPANY WINNERS
VITAL VOICES AWARD
STEPS is a Non-Profit organization, passionate about the power of documentaries to disrupt, shift and move the world around us. Their diverse projects use film to empower, start a conversation, educate and produce action around human rights and environmental issues.
CREATIVE IMPACT AWARD
Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that commissions, creates and supports original short-form and feature-length nonfiction films and episodic series about developing and ongoing stories around the globe.
For almost a decade (2011-2021), Donga has been recording events that are meaningful to him with his camera, among those the Libyan uprising or war against ISIS.
From everyday life to armed conflict, his insider position and personal images become a collective heritage for the people who lived the aftermath of a revolution.
Director(s): Muhannad Lamin
Libya | 90 minutes
Samuel e a Luz (Samuel and the Light)
Samuel lives in a small fishing village on the coast of Paraty. At first, the idyllic daily life set the tone of the film. The arrival of electricity and tourism in the village enhance the deconstruction of an idealized paradise.
Director: Vinícius Girnys
Producer: Fernando Pereira dos Santos
Brazil and France | 70 minutes
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Who I Am Not
Sharon-Rose Khumalo, a South African beauty queen, plunges into an identity crisis after finding out she is intersex. In her quest to deal with gender dysphoria, she needs the guidance of somebody just like her.
The only person who will help is Dimakatso Sebidi, a masculine presenting intersex activist who turns out to be her complete opposite. The two parallel but divergent stories offer an intimate look at the struggle of living in a male-female world, when you are born in-between.
Director(s): Tunde Skovran
Producer(s): Andrei Zinca
Romania-Canada | 103 minutes
Language(s): English, Sesotho, Sepedi, Xhosa, Sezulu, Tzonga, Tswana
How to Carry Water
This punk rock fairytale doubles as a portrait of Shoog McDaniel — a fat, queer, and disabled photographer working in and around northern Florida’s vast network of freshwater springs, the state’s source of precious drinking water. For over a decade, Shoog’s photographs have transformed the way fat people view themselves and how a fat phobic society views fat bodies. Bringing Shoog’s photography to life, the film immerses audiences in a world of fat beauty and liberation, one in which marginalized bodies — including bodies of water — are sacred.
Director(s): Sasha Wortzel
Producer(s): Colleen Cassingham
USA | 15 minutes
Filmed over the first year the Taliban retake control of Afghanistan, this film documents the country’s rapid transformation and the women who refuse to lose their rights.
Starting as the US left Afghanistan, The Takeover follows women as the country changes to fit the Taliban’s ideology, the film moves through the women’s experience, protests and daily life in the cities and countryside, and we see how restrictions on women’s basic freedoms are enforced.
Director(s): Anders Hammer
Producer(s): Anders Hammer, Charlotte Cook
Afghanistan | 33 minutes
Language(s): Dari, Pashto, English
قناة فجأة (Suddenly TV)
In April 2019, after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese from across the country congregate in Khartoum to demand civilian rule. Demonstrators occupy the military headquarters. Weeks pass and the besieged protest grows into a utopian settlement with library tents, communal kitchens, concerts and health clinics. In this liminal space, a group of young revolutionaries create an imaginary television station to meet fellow protestors. What begins as play becomes an urgent conjuring of a new Sudan.
Director(s): Roopa Gogineni
Producer(s): Roopa Gogineni
Sudan | 18 minutes
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Making the world a better place through documentary films. Joe Piscatella, of HERO CHASER is an award-winning documentary film director. Joe has always been drawn to stories of unlikely heroes who defy the odds to make a difference in the world.