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2022 Meaningful Movies Award Winners!

by November 16, 2022 0

The Meaningful Movies Project’s annual awards celebration is our opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of the  people who make our work possible – especially the amazing filmmakers, and representatives from partner organizations that make it possible for our incredible community of volunteers to produce events!

The volunteer leaders at MMP understand that truth and community are fundamental building blocks of real democracy. By supporting independent media and fostering important conversations about social justice issues that are often ignored by mainstream media, they are helping to inspire families, friends, neighbors, and communities to work for the common good. By creating spaces – whether online or in person – where people can come to know each other, learn about pressing issues, and talk to one another about hard topics, they are helping to bridge divides, strengthen community, build understanding, and find common cause.

On November 10, 2022, the Meaningful Movies Project (MMP) hosted its 4th Annual Awards Celebration. For those of you who are still learning about the Meaningful Movies Project – it is a network of volunteer-run neighborhood venues that are organizing, educating, and advocating for a more peaceful and just world by showing inspirational social justice documentaries followed by facilitated conversation and a call to action. 

The 2022 Awards Ceremony was co-hosted by our very own fabulous Meaningful Movies Manager, Melinda Raebyne; and Lavinda Lyfe, voted Spanaway’s most talented drag queen! Many incredible guest presenters participated in the 2022 Awards celebration including: Becky Black, Quileute enrolled Quinault from Coast Salish territory; Sharon Nyree Williams, Emmy Award Winning Spoken Word Artist; Enrique Cerna, Award Winning National Radio and Television Veteran Journalist; Dain Norman,  Singer/songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Audio Producer; Cindy Black, Executive Director for Fix Democracy First. There were also essential volunteers who supported technology for the evening and who helped to produce and organize the event including: Lenka Liptakova, Special Events Producer and Manager; Charlie Calvert, Meaningful Movies Tech Lead, Retired Software Engineer and Computer Science Professor at Bellevue College; Susan Harmon, Environmental Activist; Angela Arms, Meaningful Movies in Tacoma Leader; Barb Stuebing, Meaningful Movies in Spokane Leader; High School Interns Amanda Fellinge, Deni Malabanan, Swetha Upadastra, Abby Lin; Fernando Betancourt, Aspiring Filmmaker and Meaningful Movies Project Board Member; Additional MMP Board Members: Ren Dietel, Jack Fogelberg, Libby Carr, Sylvia Sepulveda, Molly Weisel. 

 

LIST OF 2022 AWARD WINNERS:

Environmental Impact Award – STORY OF PLASTIC – The Environmental Impact Award is given to the film which most effectively delivers the message of our common obligation to planetary stewardship and the interdependent links between all elements of nature. For 2022, the award is given to STORY OF PLASTIC, written and directed by Deia Schlosberg. This full length documentary is a searing exposé revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling.

Social Justice Impact Award – WRITING WITH FIRE –One concept of Social Justice holds that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, wellbeing, justice and opportunity.  Our Social Justice Impact Award is presented to the film that most effectively focuses our energy on one or more of these tenants, covering issues that have struggled for our attention in the past. For 2022 the award is given to WRITING WITH FIRE, directed by Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas. In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions, redefining what it means to be powerful.

Emergent Filmmaker Award – THE CONDOR & THE EAGLE – The Meaningful Movies Project Emergent Filmmaker Award seeks to recognize a particularly compelling work by someone who is new or less recognized within the social justice documentary field. For 2022 we have chosen Clement Guerra and Sophie Guerra for their work on THE CONDOR & THE EAGLE. A documentary looking at four Indigenous leaders, who embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Canadian plains to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle to unite the peoples of North and South America and deepen the meaning of “Climate Justice”.

Film & Filmmaker of the Year – YOUTH V. GOV – The Meaningful Movies Project Film of the Year is chosen for the work which has best expressed the mission of MMP to build a positive and meaningful community for a more just and peaceful world; showing us how independent documentary film can help us do better in loving and caring for all people by focusing our attention on issues perhaps less addressed by the mainstream media.  The 2022 Film of the Year is given to YOUTH v GOV is the story of the Juliana v. The United States of America constitutional lawsuit and the 21 American youth, ages 14 to 25, who are taking on the world’s most powerful government. Since 2015, the legal non-profit Our Children’s Trust, has been representing these youth in their landmark case against the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, personal safety, and property through their willful actions in creating the climate crisis they will inherit.  Filmmaker of the year is presented to persons whose dedication and talent enlighten us with a timely and unique presentation of important social justice messages. Filmmaker of the Year is given to Director, Christi Cooper for her work on YOUTH v GOV. 

Organization of the YearOUR CHILDREN’S TRUST – The Meaningful Movies Project network of local Groups typically work with over 100 partner organizations each year. Organization of the Year is awarded to the group which has most effectively promoted the ideals of social justice in our community through efforts focused on tangible change while upholding a shared mission of peace and justice and care for our common humanity and world. The 2022 Meaningful Movies Project Organization of the Year award is given to OUR CHILDREN’S TRUST. Our Children’s Trust is a non-profit public interest law firm representing and supporting youth from diverse backgrounds by providing strategic, campaign-based legal services to secure their legal rights to a safe climate.”

Turner Legacy Award – SINCE I BEEN DOWN – The Turner Legacy Award is given to a filmmaker for work that reflects a deep commitment to peace and justice for all people and which also reflects the values of Rick and Diane Turner, the founders of the Meaningful Movies Project. This year’s award is given to Gilda Sheppard for her extraordinary work on the film, SINCE I BEEN DOWN – In America’s backyard, a community held captive by policies targeting gangs and drugs, sacrifices their youth for a false sense of justice, and safety. Forty years later, a true path to justice and healing is led from inside prison walls.

MMP Venue of the Year Award – MEANINGFUL MOVIES IN SPOKANE – We are so grateful for the incredible Meaningful Movies volunteers and organizers in Spokane. They have been out front in the Meaningful Movies Project – producing and leading events with powerful films and important conversations about racism, the school to prison pipeline, voter suppression, homelessness and so many other issues that are affecting their community in Spokane and communities across the nation. Just as important, they have worked hard to build relationships with other organizations such as the Social Justice Film Festival, The Spokane Immigrant Rights Association, and the Compassionate Addiction Therapy nonprofit to organize impactful events and provide a platform for activists and nonprofits to talk about the work they are doing. Their work has impacted not just their local community in Spokane, but with online screenings, people across the nation.

MMP Volunteer(s) of the Year Award – MMP HIGH SCHOOL GROUPAmanda Fellinge, Deni Malabanan, Swetha Upadastra, Abby Lin. The young adult high school interns who lead this group come from many different places – Washington State, California and as far away as the Philippines. They volunteer, not just because they are interested in gaining valuable work experience, but also because they deeply care about social justice and the challenges that our world is facing. They are proving themselves to be very capable community organizers. They produce their own online events, choose their own films to screen and build relationships with speakers, activists and other Meaningful Movies volunteers. The High School group volunteers have also shown an impressive eagerness to learn and willingness to volunteer for new projects. They are self-starters, eager to take the initiative and learn about new topics. At the Meaningful Movies Project, we know that we ALL have a responsibility to try and make the world better. Adults can’t simply pass the torch to young people and expect them to save a world. So we are grateful that we are building a community of volunteers of all ages who are working together to educate, advocate, build community and work for peace and justice.

Please consider donating to help the Meaningful Movies Project continue our important work! 

 

Curious about our past winners? See below for more information!

List of 2021 Award Winners:

Filmmaker of the Year, Robert Greenwald Filmmaker of the Year is presented to persons whose dedication and talent enlighten us with a timely and unique presentation of important social justice messages.  The 2021 winner is Robert Greenwald for his extraordinary body of work provided for free to audiences around the world via Brave New Films – including his latest production, Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem.

Film of the Year, True Justice directed by George Kunhardt, Peter W. Kunhardt, Teddy Kunhardt Film of the Year is chosen for the work which has best expressed the mission of MMP to build positive and meaningful community in a more just and peaceful world; showing us how independent documentary film can help us do better in loving and caring for all people by focusing our attention on issues perhaps less well-covered in mainstream media. The beautiful and incredibly important film, True Justice, is Meaningful Movies 2021 Film of the Year!

Social Justice Impact Award, Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya – One concept of Social Justice holds that all people should have equal access to wealth , health, wellbeing, justice and opportunity.  Our Social Justice Impact Award is presented to the film that most effectively focuses our energy on one or more of these tenants, covering issues that have struggled for our attention in the past. The powerful film, Coded Bias, has been recognized with the 2021 Social Justice Impact Award for its timely and urgent message.

Environmental Impact Award, 2040, directed by Damon Gameau – The Environmental Impact Award is given to the film which most effectively delivers the message of our common obligation to planetary stewardship and the interdependent links between all elements of nature. The film 2040 has been recognized with the 2021 Environmental Impact Award for its inspiring and hopeful message!

Organization of the Year, ACLU Washington – The Meaningful Movies Project network of local Groups typically work with over 100 partner organizations each year. Organization of the year is awarded to the group which has most effectively promoted the ideals of social justice in our community through efforts focused on tangible change while upholding a shared mission of peace and justice and care for our common humanity and world.

Turner Legacy Award, Eric Stange, director of Activized – The Turner Legacy Award is given to a filmmaker for work that reflects a deep commitment to peace and justice for all people and which also reflects the values of Rick and Diane Turner, the founders of the Meaningful Movies Project.  This year’s award is given to Eric Stange for his extraordinary work on the inspiring and beautiful film, Activized

2020 Meaningful Movies Awards Celebration

A huge thanks to everyone who joined us at our 2nd annual Awards Celebration and made it so successful and fun!  Because of the pandemic, this year’s Awards Celebration was held online and hosted by our new Board Co-Chairs – Ren Deitel and Diane Tilstra. As part of the event, we were able to show a video with testimonials from venue leaders, supporters and most importantly our 2020 award winners. We are incredibly thankful for all of the incredible filmmakers who provided video clips of themselves talking about their work and the importance of providing spaces where people can learn and talk about social justice documentaries and the critical issues they focus on.

We are also extremely grateful and appreciative to everyone who donated to our auction which was held on the same evening.  Thank you for helping the Meaningful Movies Project sustain our local venues so that they can continue this important work; thank you for supporting new venues coming on board; and thank you for allowing us to reach out to more communities!

We were thrilled to present the following awards at the event:

  • Organization of the Year: Fix Democracy First, for their support of and collaboration with the Meaningful Movies Project
  • Filmmaker of the Year: Raoul Peck, for his film “I Am Not Your Negro”
  • Emergent Filmmaker of the Year: Holly Yasui, for her film “Never Give Up”
  • Film of the Year: “Dolores” for its impact in educating people about many intersectional issues including environmental justice, farmworker rights, women’s rights, economic justice and so much more.
  • Social Justice Impact Award: “I Am Evidence” for bringing awareness to and advancing political action around the important issue of backlogged rape kits.
  • Environmental Impact Award: “Dammed to Extinction” for bringing awareness to and advancing political action around the importance of saving salmon habitat and thus saving orca whales from extinction.
  • The first Turner Legacy Award: Melinda Raebyne for her compassion and dedication to promoting peace and justice for all people, as demonstrated in her film “Stories of Us: Camp Second Chance.”

 

 

2019 Meaningful Movies Award Winners

A huge thanks to everyone who joined us at our FIRST Spring Fundraiser & Awards Celebration and made it so successful and fun!  We are extremely grateful and appreciative to everyone who donated.  Thank you for helping the Meaningful Movies Project sustain our local venues so that they can continue this important work; thank you for supporting new venues coming on board; and thank you for allowing us to reach out to more communities!

We were thrilled to present the following awards at the event:

  • Organization of the Year: Social Justice Film Institute, for their support of and collaboration with the Meaningful Movies Project
  • Filmmaker of the Year: Ava DuVernay, for her film “13th”
  • Emergent Filmmaker of the Year: Tomasz Biernacki, for his film “Trickle Down Town”
  • Film of the Year: “A Plastic Ocean,” for its impact in educating people about the environmental hazard of plastics
  • Career Achievement: Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin for 33 years of making media that matters!

We were also thrilled to present Honor Awards to the following filmmakers:

  • Vlada & Chadd Knowlton, for “The Most Dangerous Year”
  • Sandra & Yasu Osawa, for “Princess Angeline”
  • Derek McNeill, for “The Road to Nickelsville”
  • Sarah & Vasant Salcedo, for “Promised Land”

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