Nonprofit media company Shine Global celebrated its second annual Children’s Resilience in Film Awards at Paramount Studios on Tuesday night. Recognizing films and filmmakers around the world that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversities such as poverty, violence, illness and discrimination, the awards honored documentary Name Me Lawand with the event’s grand prize of $15,000.
Directed by Edward Lovelace, Name Me Lawand follows a deaf Kurdish boy’s emotional journey toward discovering how to express himself using British Sign Language, depicting the power of communication and community.
“This award is for Lawand — for his bravery, his determination in getting his message out to the world. His message is a beautiful one, which guided the entire filmmaking process,” said Lovelace in a written acceptance speech read by cinematographer Lol Crawley. “We as filmmakers have learned so much just by watching and listening to these young people who seem to have a wisdom on how to live, about how our planet should be. We need to all listen to the voices of tomorrow to stop us from growing old and unwise.”
The film was selected by a jury panel including Rand Corporation’s vp and director of social and economic well-being, Anita Chandra; The Hollywood Reporter awards editor Tyler Coates; MGM+ vp unscripted programming, Jill Burkhart; Heartland Film artistic director Greg Sorvig; and Picture Motion CEO Brian Walker.
“It is our true honor and pleasure to award Name Me Lawand the winner of this year’s Children’s Resilience in Film Awards,” said Shine Global co-founder and executive director Susan MacLaury. “The film exemplifies our mission — it gives a voice to the people who need it most and still manages to tell stories of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. We thank all of our finalists, and filmmakers telling important stories around the world, for their continued hard work.”
“We tell our stories through film because we believe that film has a unique and magical power to affect change,” said co-founder Albie Hecht. “We believe these films could have a broader and more emotional impact in filmmaking: telling those stories [to] move people. To help educators, to help legislators, to help activists mobilize to each cause to inspire change, and to transform children’s lives through film.”
The other film nominees included Inna Sahakyan’s Aurora’s Sunrise, Camiel Schouwenaar’s Bigman, Marianela Maldonado’s Children of Las Brisas and Sophie Linnenbaum’s The Ordinaries.
“Every day, children around the world suffer the collateral damage of forces they can’t begin to control — climate change, violence, war and racism,” adds MacLaury. “We count these children as our children. And we and our nominees stand with them and for them by telling their stories in theaters and classrooms and to congress.”
The event — of which THR was a sponsor — also honored Ayenda director Marie Margolius with the short film prize. In addition to the film honorees, Shine Global recognized three individuals for making a difference: DreamWorks Animation president Margie Cohn as the Titan honoree; former NFL player and Project Transition founder and CEO Marcellus Wiley as the Children’s Champion honoree; and Graceyn Hollingsworth, the voice of Gracie on Gracie’s Corner, as the Youth Activist honoree.