Monday, June 22, 2020
Our Mexican partner Vientos Culturales won two prizes at the Prix Jeunesse International (the ‘Oscars of children’s television’) in Munich. It received the UNESCO Prize for the youth documentary ‘Life’, made in collaboration with Free Press Unlimited, and the Special Achievement Prize for its animated series about COVID-19.

De Prix Jeunesse International is the oldest festival for youth television in the world. Every two years, it rewards the best television productions for children and young people worldwide, with various awards.

‘Life’

The youth documentary, ‘Life’, or “Kuxlejal’ in Tsotsil, the language spoken by the indigenous Tsotsil-Maya population, highlights the large number of cases of self-harm and suicide among the youth of the indigenous community of San Andrés Larráinzar in Mexico. Watch the trailer here.

The UNESCO jury report states: “’Life’ reminds us of how important preserving the diversity of cultures is as the key players of ‘Life’ find hope and a resort by creating music with their own voices in their own language. It is a great example how the power of music can be used to bring people together and strengthen the understanding and respect between different communities.”

The documentary arose from a short news item that Vientos Culturales previously produced on the same topic for WADADA News for Kids, the global network of youth news programmes that Free Press Unlimited set up with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, among others.

Informative COVID-19 animations

Vientos Culturales’ series of informative animations about COVID-19 won a Special Achievement Prize. The animations were developed in no less than 50 (indigenous) languages to reach children in particular in areas where information from the government and media is communicated exclusively in Spanish. The animations were broadcast on ‘Vientos-TV’, the news platform for children and young people, which is part of WADADA News for Kids. Watch an example of an animation in the Yucatec Maya language here.

Virtual award ceremony

Due to COVID-19 the festival took place online. Elke Franke, director of Vientos Culturales and the director of both productions, accepted the awards virtually. In her acceptance speech she called on governments in Latin America to invest in news for children, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how poor the news provision is, particularly for children and young people.

Vientos Culturales winner Prix Jeunesse International

Vientos Culturales is also one of the partners that participated in the other global project for children and young people that Free Press Unlimited currently has up and running: ‘My #QuarantineLife’.