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UNICEF film about children in jail wins
director award in international festival

"Raw and unvarnished, Bunso is a harrowing indictment of a society's failure to protect its most vulnerable."


MAKATI, 17 May 2005 --- Ditsi Carolino received the Best Director award for the moving documentary film, Bunso (The Youngest), at the OneWorld 2005 documentary films festival held in Prague, Czech Republic.

Bunso is about three boys named Tony (13), Diosel (11), and Bunso (11) who are detained in a city jail. Here, they share dingy spaces with adult criminals convicted of rape, murder and drug dealing.

OneWorld is an international human rights film festival. The Grand Jury honored Ditsi Carolino along with Pirjo Honkasalo for the film, Three Rooms of Melancholia, an entry from Finland.

In a statement by the Grand Jury, Carolino was noted for achieving "empathy and closeness to her characters who are children held in atrocious condictions in a jail."

"Filmed from not above or below their level, the film intermingles humor and despair as the children are allowed to speak for themselves as equals."

"It's a miracle that we won," Carolino wrote in an e-mail to UNICEF. The film competed against other works with bigger production budgets. "What is also amazing is the very strong responses from the audience. People would stay after a screening and ask how they can help."

Directed by Carolino and photographed by Nana Buxani, Bunso was shown in December 2004 on a limited screening. In November 2004, it had its offshore World Premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in the Netherlands where it was shown as part of the non-competition Reflecting Images section.

Carolino and Buxani team up for the third time following their critically-acclaimed documentary films, Minsan Lang Sila Bata (They Are Children Only Once) in 1996 and Riles (Railroad) in 2002.

Supported by the Consuelo Foundation and UNICEF, Bunso is a powerful advocacy tool that child rights advocates are using to generate support for the passage of the Juvenile Justice Bill.

Bunso is making the rounds of international film festival. It had sold-out screening at the HotDocs Canadian International Film Festival in Toronto in April and at the DokFest International Documentary Film Festival in Munich, Germany in May.

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