On Saturday, August 17, 2013 we announced the winners of the 5th Annual Lights. Camera. Help. Cause-Driven Film Festival.  After the last screening of the festival our judges met in a clandestine location to deliberate on which films were the very best micro-documentaries (under 5 min), short films (5-29 min) and feature length films (30 min and over).  Here are the results.

Best Micro-Documentary

The Women of Nyamonge Present: Netball

Mama Hope is a non-profit that focuses on community development projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana. We started this video series so people could begin to reimagine Africa.  It is only when people are no longer seen through the stereotypes of poverty that we can begin to see we are not so different from each other. We wanted our Mama Hope supporters to see that Africa is full of progress, potential, and hope.

Mama Hope believes that everyone should have a say in how they’re represented. When asked what they would make a film about, the women of the Nyamonge neighborhood of Chiga village in Kisumu, Kenya said, “Netball. We always see African women as sad and poor. We want to make a video about something we love.”

These women are multidimensional. Some own small businesses. Some farm, sell dried fish, make breakfast breads, sell fabric and scarves, or sing for a living. All of them are mothers and most are caregivers for orphans in their own home. They are leaders of water committees and microfinance groups. Their ability is infinite and inspiring. Amongst all this, it’s practice four times a week and, at times, walking over four miles for tournaments. These ladies don’t mess around.

Best Short Film

Austin Children’s Shelter: Transforming Lives

The Austin Children’s Shelter protects and heals children, young adults and families in need. We believe that every child and young adult in our community deserves to feel safe and to receive nurturing care in order to grow into happy, responsible and fulfilled adults.

ACS provides a safe home and supportive services for children, youth and young adults from birth to 21 who have experienced significant loss, trauma, abuse and/or neglect in their lives.  Most children at the Austin Children’s Shelter have been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services because of severe abuse or neglect. The goal of this film is to educate audiences about how we can help youth who have experienced abuse and neglect overcome its effects, and to inspire others to be a part of the solution by getting involved with or supporting Austin Children’s Shelter.

Director: Matt Cooper

Producer: Mark Scholes

Best Feature

A FILM About KIDS and MUSIC: The Sant Andreu Jazz Band

Kids and Music is a project arising from a music class. Conducted by Joan Chamorro, the big band brings together children between 6 and 18 years old, around a classic jazz repertoire with lots of swing, which gained the public’s attention and sold-out some of the most important music auditoriums in Spain.

This documentary is a journey led by the orchestra director, which immerses us in a unique teaching method as unique as the results it unveils. It is a story that will thrill us with these kids’ staging talent and touch us through all sort of sensations that only they are able to bring to life. On this journey they are joined by Jesse Davis, Terell Stafford and Wycliffe Gordon, American musicians admired by all jazz music lovers that feed the spirit of young talent careers as Elsa, who at only 6 years old plays the trumpet like an angel.

Joan Chamorro, the conductor, is the true core of the documentary. We want people to know that this exciting project is the result of his work in a local music school, and the children have not been cast to take part in this orchestra. The documentary reveals Chamorro’s unique personality and allows us to understand his one-of-a-kind teaching method.

Director: Ramon Tort

Producer: Ramon Tort