Short on Brazil’s Violence Wins UN Award

A scene from winning film Looks can be deceiving Nine Brazilian students won a special award from the Department of Public Information (DPI) for their film Looks Can Be Deceiving in the FYI – Film Your Issue competition. The film was entered in the category "UN/Global issues", which DPI offered three issues – peace, tolerance and international migration – for students to consider for the competition.

DPI's Outreach Division partnered with FYI for this year's competition and extended it beyond the United States to allow students worldwide to focus on issues of importance to them.

The award ceremony for the FYI competition will be held at United Nations Headquarters on June 26. At the ceremony, the winning films will be formally announced and screened.

FYI – Film Your Issue encourages young people ages 16 to 25 to add their voice to the public dialogue by producing 30- to 60-second films on social issues. Through its network of United Nations information centers around the world, DPI encouraged the participation of students, especially from developing countries, if they could gain access to cameras and receive editing support for their issue films.

Founded by journalist and social entrepreneur HeathCliff Rothman, FYI – Film Your Issue has also partnered with leading global media companies and cause organizations: Yahoo; Jumpcut, a Yahoo Company; USA Today; Starz; Universal Pictures; the Humane Society of the United States; the Natural Resources Defense Council; and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

"Our main motivation in producing the movie was to show how serious violence in Rio has become," said Danilo Marcondes, one of the filmmakers.

Danilo and the team of co-producers – Eduarda Ferreira Franco de Castro Guedes, Rachel Nascimento Lino, Thais Justen Nogueira, Ricardo Oliveira dos Santos, Camila Soares Lippi, Lucas Almeida Paes de Melo, Katja Augusto and Juliana Ono – celebrated the win in Rio de Janeiro when they received the news, said Valéria Schilling, Information Officer at the United Nations Information Center there.

In creating the film, the students consulted Rio de Paz, a local organization for peace in Rio de Janeiro, and TV Roc, a local television company, and had access to film equipment from the United Nations Information Center.

The film Looks Can Be Deceiving, which also won the international Yahoo audience award via online voting, addresses the issue of peace in areas of conflict around the world, but shows scenes depicting violence in the streets of the Brazilian metropolis.

"We need to tell the world that innocent people are dying in the midst of gunshots. The crosses on the Copacabana beach represent the many lives lost in our urban war," said one of the university students who co-produced the film. The film highlights that, although Brazil is not at war, the ever-growing violence is affecting and endangering civilians.

Runners-up in the category "UN/Global Issues" were the film Stains, about the struggles over territory, and The Terrorist, about the issue of tolerance from the perspective of a Muslim immigrant in the United States post-9/11. Both films were produced by United States college students.

Many of the films in the competition focused on global warming and deserve special mention in the context of global issues: When I grow up, about children who look at the impact of global warming and conclude they do not want to grow up; Super Mario Pollution PSA, a popular video game character showing the impact of pollution; and Road Trip, the symbolic struggle between nature and humans, mediated by "God".

Six other awards are being presented for the following films: The FYI – Film Your Issue VIP Jury Award for three films by United States students: The Terrorist; Save a Life, an anti-abortion film; Live a Revolution, about holding onto idealism and activism beyond youth; and One Word, about choosing one's values in living life.

The VIP Jury's international awards went to How a Prostitute Is Born, on sex trafficking, and the animated Putek!, about a suicidal man with second thoughts. The VIP Jury includes media and film personalities Walter Cronkite, Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams, Peter Jackson, John Cusack, Harvey Weinstein, Mandy Moore, Nicholas Kristof, Terry Semel, David Linde and others.

The Yahoo audience favorite by a United States student, voted by the public on the website Jumpcut, was Hidden Agenda, about identity theft. The international Yahoo audience favorite was Looks Can Be Deceiving.

The films can be viewed on the FYI website – www.filmyourissue.com.

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