Faith Shorts announces shortlist of films from young people across five continents
Faith Shorts is a global film competition run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation providing young people with the opportunity to express their faith through film. The competition will culminate on the 22nd July at a star studded award ceremony held at 195 Piccadilly, the home of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) hosted by Adrian Chiles. The three winners will be flown to London to introduce their 3-minute films in person.
The powerful films produced deal with family, loss, overcoming adversity, personal devotion and hope. There have been entries from those without a faith telling us how their different beliefs inspire them, and stories from those who found inspiration in their religion. The films range from an Indian pupil presenting a challenge to the viewer on child poverty in Delhi slums to young Bosnians of different faiths offering a vision of peace and tolerance set against the divisions that their community has experienced.
Entries have been shortlisted from around the world including India, Egypt, Argentina, Pakistan, UK, New Zealand, Singapore, Lebanon, Jordan, USA, Singapore, and the Philippines. Young people of every background with no access to equipment took part – by sending their written “pitches”. The Foundation sent flip cameras to the best 50 entries in these countries to ensure every young person could bring their ideas to life.
These stories have impressed the global judging panel which includes Tony Blair, Jonathan Caplan QC, Hugh Jackman , Anil Kapoor, Amr Khaled , Jet Li, Kishore Lulla, Wendi Murdoch, Natalie Portman, Nik Powell , Queen Rania of Jordan, Rabbi David Rosen, June Sarpong, Deepak Verma and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation Fellows.
Anil Kapoor, star of Slumdog Millionaire and TV series 24, said of a Jordanian entry about a young Christian girl dealing with the aftermath of terror attacks in her country:
“The film maker clearly communicates that her faith teaches her the importance of forgiveness and it is this practice that has truly freed her.”
Faith Shorts judge and Hollywood actor, Hugh Jackman said after watching the films:
“I had a great time judging and viewing all the films. I think they were all very brave, very personal in nature, very honest and I found them inspiring and touching”
Tony Blair, who is also one of the judges said:
“I’ve been deeply inspired by the films I’ve seen. These are films made by young people who have something to say about their faith and about the world they live in. The stories they tell are incredibly powerful, some challenging, others uplifting they all confront head on the prejudices that so often abound about different religions. I am proud to have been a part of providing these young people with the tools to share their faith with the world and I am sure the films they’ve produced will be a powerful resource in breaking down barriers between different cultures and religions.”
June Sarpong shared her feelings on the importance of the competition:
“Well done to all of the filmmakers, I didn't realise one could do so much with a flipcam; from now on that's how I'll be shooting all of my future TV shows! On a serious note I think it's really important that we start a dialogue on faith with our young people as early as possible. If we were able to find more common ground between those who adhere to organized religion, spirituality or no faith system at all-the world would be a much safer place. This kind of monumental shift must begin with our youth as they are the future.”
One of the entrants, Lara Smallman from London said of her entry:
“My hope is that the film will be screened at interfaith events across the country, and bring people of different faiths together.”
The young people are very excited about being shortlisted. Ana Alcala from the Philippines said,
“It was such a huge privilege to have been given the opportunity to meditate on the profoundly important subject of faith through the medium of film, which is one of the most powerful art forms of our time.”
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is working with Deepak Verma from Pukkanasha films on this project.