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At a glance: Netherlands

UNICEF and ‘OneminutesJr’ project rock Stranger Festival awards with big wins

UNICEF Image: Story Photo
© UNICEF/2008/Schuepp
Sylvain Koko, 18 of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had three nominations for his film ‘Alimentation d'un congolais moyen’ (‘Average diet of a Congolese man’).

By Amy Bennett

NEW YORK, USA, 25 July 2008 – Nine productions from the ‘OneminutesJr’ project received an unprecedented 14 nominations and two awards in the one-minute films competition at the 2008 Stranger Festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The films, made during OneminutesJr workshops sponsored by UNICEF around the world, are all the work of filmmakers under the age of 20.

The Stranger Festival is Europe’s biggest event for young videographers working to share their stories. This year, the festival and OneminutesJr organized some 35 workshops in more than 20 countries and hosted an open competition for young filmmakers. The winners were announced at the Stranger Awards show earlier this month.

UNICEF filmmakers took away two very prestigious honours – the MTV Stranger Award and the OneminutesJr award in the ‘Inside Out’ category. But more than that, all the nominees took pride in their accomplishments and the personal growth they achieved through filmmaking.

“It’s like an outlet for your emotions, an outlet for what you think inside,” said nominee Kirk Belmonte from the Philippines. “It’s also important for intrapersonal communication, because it’s something that came from your heart, from your mind. Then you let other people see it,  so it’s giving out, pouring out a part of yourself.”

UNICEF Image: Story Photo
Karim Shaaban, 18, from Egypt, and Kirk Belmonte, 19, from the Philippines, were nominated for awards given at the Stranger Festival.

And the winners are…

Sylvain Koko, 18, of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, garnered three nominations for his film ‘Alimentation d'un congolais moyen’ (‘Average diet of a Congolese man’). As the winner of the MTV Stranger Award, he received a JVC HD video camera and the honour of having his film air on MTV Netherlands.

Zarina Pashtova, 12, from Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia, won the OneminutesJr award in the Inside Out category for her film ‘Untitled’. Zarina also received a JVC HD video camera. She attended the Stranger Festival and got her award onstage in spite of her shyness – a quality that her short film addressed.

Other nominees on hand at the festival included:

• Georgy Ambalov, 14, from Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia, Russia, nominated for the Stranger Award for his film ‘Balance’
• Kirk Belmonte, 19, from Baguio, the Philippines, nominated in the Inside Out category for his film ‘Breath of Freedom’
• Karim Shaaban, 18, from Cairo, Egypt, nominated in the Inside Out category and for the Stranger Award for his film ‘Overload’.

“It’s a very great feeling to see that you are nominated,” said Karim. “Everyone can see your film.”

The other films nominated for the Stranger Award and OneminutesJr honours were Richard Issam’s ‘Les enfants dits sorciers’ and Landry Koko’s ‘Mon Pays’ (DR Congo); Anas Dhafir Keiralla’s ‘One Life, One Reality’ (Jordan/Iraq); and Emre Acikbas’s ‘Unklaubliche Phenomene Vol.1’ (Germany).

Inspiring creativity

The nine nominated films were produced in workshops supported by UNICEF and various partners, including the Dubai International Film Festival. The competition that culminated in Amsterdam was open to all one-minute films produced since June 2007 by young filmmakers aged 12 to 20. Over 300 films were eligible to compete.

Operated in partnership with the One Minutes Foundation and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), the OneminutesJr project organizes five-day film workshops in which each participant learns camera skills, story development and production techniques. ECF produced the Stranger Festival this year, in line with its mission of equipping young people with fundamental skills for self-expression and interaction using video.

“It's so inspiring to see the creativity of these young people – how they see the world around them and what they choose to highlight and express about their lives and experiences,” said UNICEF’s Executive Producer for Children's Broadcasting Initiatives, Karen Cirillo. “OneminutesJr is a unique opportunity to explore identity and culture in a fun and exciting way.”




5 July 2008: UNICEF correspondent Amy Bennett reports on the young award winners and nominees at the Stranger Festival in Amsterdam.
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Watch some of the short films produced at UNICEF-supported 'OnminutesJr' workshops and honoured with nominations and awards at the Stranger Festival:

'Alimentation d'un congolais moyen' by Sylvain Koko
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'Overload' by Karim Shaaban
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'Breath of Freedom' by Kirk Belmonte
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'Les enfants dits sorciers' by Richard Issam
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'One Life, One Reality'  by Anas Dhafir Keiralla
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'Mon Pays' by Landry Koko
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'Balance'by Georgy Ambalov
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'Untitled' by Zarina Pashtova
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