Monday, November 16, 2015
On Thursday 3 December, Free Press Unlimited will be presenting two awards to young filmmakers during an awards ceremony at the UNAOC PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival in New York City. The annual PLURAL+ competition is organised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations with the aim of getting children and adolescents more closely involved in themes like diversity, migration and social integration. The winners of this year’s awards – from Syria and Pakistan respectively – were selected from a total of 240 entries from 59 countries.

Changing behaviour of children

The Free Press Unlimited Youth Award will be presented to 16-year-old Khaldiya from Syria for her film Another Kind of Girl. Khaldiya is currently living in a refugee camp in Jordan, which also forms the setting for her film. She won the award in the category ‘Journalism and Information'. According to Jan-Willem Bult, Head of Free Press Unlimited’s Children, Youth & Media department, “her reportage immerses you in the changes that she experiences as a refugee, both within herself and the world around her. For example, at a certain point, she records the changing behaviour of children at play in the camp. A very keen observation, and beautifully filmed to boot.”

Hosts become 'family'

The 2015 WADADA News for Kids Youth Prize will be presented to 17-year-old Moiz Khan from Pakistan, for his film The Year Through My Eyes. Moiz’s film focuses on his experiences staying as an exchange student with an American family for a year. His film was awarded first prize in the category ‘Media for Change’.

“The film’s associative editing style and poetic voice-over commentary lend depth to the events and emotions that Moiz experienced during filming. He discovers how his hosts gradually grow to become ‘family’ for him. The affectionate way in which he shows this development is very special for someone of his age,” according to Bult. He was surprised by the high overall quality of the winning entries: “You wouldn’t say so, but in both Khaldiya and Moiz’s case, this was actually the first film they had ever made.”

The awards will be presented on 3 December 2015, during the UNAOC PLURAL+ awards ceremony at the Paley Center for Media in New York City. Bult: “We are delighted that Moiz will be able to attend this event, and even to be re-united with his American family for a short while. Unfortunately, we were unable to fly over Khaldiya, but we will continue to support her activities as a filmmaker in Jordan – and hopefully soon in Syria too.”

Both films will be broadcast over a few weeks during an edition of the WADADA News for Kids global news bulletin – on 7 and 14 December respectively.