By Karen Cirillo
NEW YORK, USA, 10 November 2010 – Carlon Knight, 17, of Antigua didn’t have to think hard to decide on the topic for the film he was making at a ‘OneMinutesJr.’ youth video-production workshop held in Barbados in 2009. He wanted to focus on the problem of absent fathers – an issue that affects many young people in his community.
|VIDEO: Watch 'Dear Dad' by Carlon Knight, 17, of Antigua, winner of the 2010 OneMinutesJr. Award in the (Self) Portraits category. Watch in RealPlayer|
“The role of the father is not emphasized,” Carlon explained. “A lot of fathers tend not to be there through the entirety of their child’s life. In order for a child to grow up in a normal, healthy environment, both parents need to be present and active in the child’s life.” Carlon’s one-minute film, ‘Dear Dad,’ features a poem written by a boy to his father.
His strong viewpoint turned out to be a winning one. ‘Dear Dad’ has just won one of three OneMinutesJr. Awards given by the One Minutes Foundation and UNICEF. The awards are given in three categories: (Self)-Portrait, Inside-Out and One Minute of Freedom. Carlon’s film won the (Self)-Portrait category, sharing honours with ‘I Am Alone Now’ by Ruth Henry, 17, of Barbados (Inside-Out) and ‘On the Last Drop’ by Tolib Homitov of Tajikistan (One Minute of Freedom).
Inspired by life experiences
The online awards were announced today at www.theoneminutesjr.org. Each category had five finalists, selected from a pool of 307 eligible videos produced during UNICEF-supported OneMinutesJr. workshops or submitted as individual entries.
|VIDEO: Watch ‘I Am Alone Now’ by Ruth Henry, 17, of Barbados, winner of the 2010 OneMinutesJr. Award in the Inside-Out category. Watch in RealPlayer|
The One Minutes Foundation, UNICEF and the European Cultural Foundation launched the OneMinutesJr. project in 2002. This international, arts-based initiative gives young people aged 12 to 20 – especially those from underprivileged or marginalized communities – an opportunity to share their ideas, dreams, anxieties and viewpoints with the world.
Carlon’s film, for example, was inspired by his own life experiences. “I myself have grown up without a father, and it’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life,” he noted. “Being able to share my story ... and the story of a number of individuals like myself – it had a very significant impact on me, and I hope the message was really clear.”
Award winner Ruth Henry also sought to express visually what many teenagers in her community are going through: the feeling of being alone, of not fitting. She wrote the poem that serves as the narration for her video, which uses a jungle-like atmosphere to show a place where it’s easy to get lost.
Nominees from around the world
Tolib Homitov made his film during a workshop in Tajikistan that focused on a safe-water theme. In it, foreboding music plays as dozens of children form a line at a massive water tank, reminding people how important water is.
|VIDEO: Watch ‘On the Last Drop’ by Tolib Homitov of Tajikistan, winner of the 2010 OneMinutesJr. Award in the One Minute of Freedom category. Watch in RealPlayer|
Beyond the top three winning entries, the other youth films nominated for this year’s OneMinutesJr. Awards included:
A goal for the future
For Carlon Knight, being nominated for the award was humbling. “When I made the video, I wasn’t expecting to be nominated,” he said. “It was more about the opportunity to expose an issue I felt passionate about in a very personal and emotional way. When you see all the videos made from around the world, I’m very touched that my message was one that resonated with others.”
|© UNICEF Barbados/2010/Cirillo|
|Carlon Knight works the camera during a 'OneMinutesJr.' video production workshop in Barbados.|
The winners will receive a JVC Handcam along with their awards. Carlon hopes to use his camera as he continues to address social issues.
“I want to thank the OneMinutesJr. and UNICEF for giving young people a voice to express things that are important to them,” he said. “I’m very grateful. My goal in life is to become a social activist in this and other issues.... This gives me inspiration to continue.”
Visit the network's website to watch and rate youth films, read about workshops and more.
Check out UNICEF's OneMinutesJr. channel on YouTube.
Become a fan on Facebook.