This annual event recognizes and celebrates the films and filmmakers that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity.
Nominees are selected from an open call of submissions of feature films of any genre that showcase children overcoming challenges, such as poverty, violence, illness, and discrimination, and demonstrate their resilience, courage, and determination. The awards events began in September 2023 with film screenings of the nominees in New York City. The jury was comprised of film industry experts and children’s rights activists who selected the winner, Name Me Lawand, which was announced at the awards show in Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures on Oct. 3, with a grand prize of $15,000.
2023 Nominated Films
Name Me Lawand
**GRAND PRIZE WINNER 2023**
Name Me Lawand is a rapturous portrait of a deaf Kurdish boy’s emotional journey towards discovering how to express himself using British Sign Language. A love letter to the power of communication and community.
Directed by Edward Lovelace | Produced by Fleur Nieddu, Sam Arnold, Beyan Taher, Neil Andrews, Marisa Clifford, Edward Lovelace | 84 min | UK | 2022
*Winner of the Film Accessibility Prize presented in Partnership with Reel Abilities*
The true story of how a fourteen-year-old girl escaped the slaughter of the Armenian genocide and embarked upon an odyssey that took her to the heights of Hollywood stardom. At 14, Aurora Madriganian survived the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and escaped to New York, where her story became a media sensation. Her newfound fame led to her starring as herself in Auction of Souls, one of Hollywood’s earliest blockbusters.
Directed by Inna Sahakyan | Produced by Vardan Hovhannisyan, Christian Beetz, Justė Michailinaitė, Kęstutis Drazdauskas, Eric Esrailian, Inna Sahakyan | 96 min | Armenia | 2022
Best friends Dylan and Youssef dream of becoming professional football players. One day, an unexpected event changes everything for Dylan, and he has to come to terms with his new life. He does not want to let go of his dream and is still determined to win the Touzani Cup together with Youssef! Thanks to the help of skater girl Maya – whom he has a crush on – he learns to play football in a completely new way. Bigman is a film about true friendship, not giving up, and striving to win.
Directed by Camiel Schouwenaar | Produced by Reinier Selen | 89 min | The Netherlands | 2022
Children of Las Brisas
Children of Las Brisas tells the story of resistance and resilience of three Venezuelan children from the impoverished Las Brisas neighborhood as they pursue their dream of becoming professional musicians in “El Sistema” orchestra organization. Edixon, Dissandra, and Wuilly show the power of discipline and classical music as tools for survival, unveiling a country under autocratic rule.
Directed by Marianela Maldonado | Produced by Luisa De La Ville | 84 min | Venezuela | 2022
In a repressive three class-society, Paula, a simple Supporting Character, is about to face the most important test of her life: she has to prove she deserves to be a Lead. She is at the top of her class at the Main Character School – but so far has failed in generating great emotional music. In search of a solution, she finds herself in the abyss of the cinematic world, on the fringes of the storyline and lost amongst the Outtakes.
Directed by Sophie Linnenbaum | Produced by Britta Strampe, Laura Klippel | 120 min | Germany | 2022
*Short Film Prize Winner*
Presented in Partnership with Heartland Film
Summer 2021 – As Kabul falls to the Taliban, members of the Under-18 Afghan National Women’s Football Team attempt a daring evacuation from their homeland.
AYENDA tells the thrilling story of the how the girls escaped with their lives, and the improbable network that banded together to get them out.
Directed by Marie Margolius | Produced by Marie Margolius, Connor Schell | 39 min | USA | 2023