Shine Global and ReelAbilities Film Festival Announce Children’s Resilience in Disability Stories Award for Okthanksbye

Shine Global and ReelAbilities Film Festival Announce Children’s Resilience in Disability Stories Award for Okthanksbye

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Shine Global and ReelAbilities Film Festival Announce Children’s Resilience in Disability Stories Award for Okthanksbye

April 11, 2024Shine Global announced that the feature film Okthanksbye, directed by Nicole Van Kilsdonk, has been honored with the Children’s Resilience in Disability Stories Award at ReelAbilities 2024 closing night. This new prize is given to a film that highlights the resilience and strength of children with disabilities.  The winner is awarded $2,500 and an invitation to participate in Shine Global’s upcoming 2024 Resilience Awards events.

In this Netherlands/Belgium/French coming-of-age road movie, two adolescent girls at a boarding school for the deaf, shy Jamie and bold Imane, played by Mae van de Loo and Douae Zine El Abidine both in their film debuts, set off on an unexpected road trip to Paris. When things do not go as planned, and the trip takes an adventurous turn, Jamie must come out of her shell.  The film was Directed and Co-Written by Nicole Van Kilsdonk, with co-writer Lilian Sijbesma and produced by Rogier Kramer.

“Okthanksbye is an empowering portrayal of children’s resilience and friendship” said Shine Global’s Creative Director Alexandra Blaney. “The film not only captivates audiences with its heartwarming story of friendship and self-discovery but also stands as a beacon for representation on screen, featuring deaf actors who authentically portray the journey of Jamie and Imane.”

Since 2007, ReelAbilities Film Festival has been blazing a trail as the nation’s premier festival dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. With the flagship festival hosted annually in NY, the festival is renowned for its wide-ranging international film selection, riveting conversations, professional workshops and arts events, as well as a leader in setting the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion in the film industry. The festival is a rare opportunity to put the spotlight on disabled individuals as protagonists, role models, artists and producers, all on the big screen. The festival connects people with and without disabilities in celebration of cinema, diversity and accessibility.  

“ReelAbilities is proud to partner with Shine Global and help raise the bar on disability inclusion in cinema. The intersectionality of disability and children’s resilience opens a door for elevating films on underrepresented topics,” said Isaac Zablocki, director and co-founder of ReelAbilities. 

Shine Global’s annual Resilience Awards honor exceptional films that center around the resilience of children and further the organization’s mission of improving children’s lives by harnessing the power of storytelling. Past winners include the feature documentaries Name Me Lawand (2023, Directed by Edward Lovelace) which was also awarded the ReelAbilities Accessibility Award at Shine Global’s 2023 events, Lift (2022, Directed by David Petersen) and the short documentary Ayenda (2023, directed by Marie Margolius) in partnership with Heartland Film’s Indy Shorts International Film Festival, and the animated children’s film Dounia – The Great White North (2024, directed by Marya Zarif and André Kadi) in partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival.  The 2024 call for entries for feature films is currently open on FilmFreeway with a final deadline of May 31, 2024.

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About Shine Global

Shine Global is a non-profit media company that improves the lives of children by telling powerful stories to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about underserved children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on Capitol Hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.

Since our founding in 2005, Shine Global films have won more than 100 major awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject for Inocente and an Academy Award®-nomination and two Emmys® for War/Dance. Recent films include the documentary-animation hybrid Liyana, the hit documentary The Eagle Huntress, Through Our Eyes: Homefront which is available on HBOMax, and the Ariel Award winner Home Is Somewhere Else, which is currently in festivals.

ABOUT SHINE GLOBAL’S RESILIENCE AWARDS

This annual event recognizes and celebrates the films and filmmakers that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity. The awards are open to films of any genre that showcase children overcoming challenges, such as poverty, violence, illness, and discrimination, and demonstrate their resilience, courage, and determination.

About ReelAbilities

ReelAbilities celebrates disability, inclusion and accessibility through wide-ranging international films, riveting conversations, professional workshops and other forms of visual and performing arts.
Founded in NY in 2007, ReelAbilities presents the largest festival in the world dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. With a flagship festival in New York, affiliate festivals throughout North America, an online streaming platform, industry summit, educational programs and more, ReelAbilities brings the community together to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience, and is a leader in setting the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion in the film industry.

About ReelAbilities Industry Summit
DISABILITY INCLUSION AND EQUITY IN FILM + PERFORMING ARTS

Hosted in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment, Reelabilities´ industry Summit gathers industry professionals to explore and discuss topics of accessibility, inclusion and representation in all aspects of the film and performing arts industries, and explore beyond the basics into progressive best practices.
Industry leaders, including Disabled creatives, share knowledge and experience providing participants with the tools to elevate accessibility and open pathways to deeper inclusion.  https://reelabilities.org/

Dounia – The Great White North Wins Shine Global’s Unstoppable Kids Prize at NYICFF

Dounia – The Great White North Wins Shine Global’s Unstoppable Kids Prize at NYICFF

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Dounia – The Great White North Wins Shine Global’s Unstoppable Kids Prize at NYICFF

March 21, 2024 – Shine Global is thrilled to announce that “Dounia – The Great White North” has been honored with the Unstoppable Kids Prize co-presented with New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF). This new prize is given to a film that highlights the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity.  The winner of the Unstoppable Kids Prize is awarded $2,500 and an invitation to participate in Shine Global’s Resilience Awards events.

The animated film, directed by Marya Zarif and André Kadi, is a follow up to the 2022 film “Dounia and the Princess of Aleppo,” which follows a six-year-old Dounia as she journeys across Syria and around the world seeking asylum.  In “Dounia – The Great White North,” Dounia and her grandparents slowly get to know Canada, the new home that welcomed them.  As Dounia adjusts to the new land, language, and culture, she must also live with the trauma of war and the absence of her father.

“The film beautifully captures Dounia and her family’s resilience as they adjust to their new home as refugees, illustrating both the power of compassion and the importance of embracing differences,” said Alexandra Blaney, the Creative Director at Shine Global. “Dounia and her circle of friends and neighbors all exhibit an unstoppable spirit of optimism and joy. The film exemplifies our vision of a world in which children can thrive, and we are honored to present the Unstoppable Kids prize to “Dounia – The Great White North.”

Co-director Marya Zarif expressed her gratitude, stating, “Dounia is indeed an unstoppable kid with great spirit and a huge appetite for life. I dedicate this to all the little heroes who live under the bombs or under siege and despite all the horrors remain beautiful and inspiring.”

André Kadi, co-director, added, “Resilience is so much related to our film’s subject; it’s very touching to be awarded the Unstoppable Kids Prize. Heartfelt thanks to NYICFF and to Shine Global.”

Producer Judith Beauregard also added praise for Rahaf Ataya, who voices the main character of the film, Dounia. “Rahaf was able to breathe freshness and candor into the endearing character of Dounia. Rahaf and her family fled Syria in 2016 and came to Canada as refugees. Rahaf is now a Canadian citizen and studies in Montreal. She is a perfect example of resilience, as is Dounia”

“Dounia – The Great White North” is a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength found within children, inspiring audiences worldwide.

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About Shine Global

Shine Global is a non-profit media company that improves the lives of children by telling powerful stories to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about underserved children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on Capitol Hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.

Since our founding in 2005, Shine Global films have won more than 100 major awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject for Inocente and an Academy Award®-nomination and two Emmys® for War/Dance. Recent films include the documentary-animation hybrid Liyana, the hit documentary The Eagle Huntress, Through Our Eyes: Homefront which is available on HBOMax, and the Ariel Award winner Home Is Somewhere Else, which is currently in festivals.

ABOUT SHINE GLOBAL’S RESILIENCE AWARDS

This annual event recognizes and celebrates the films and filmmakers that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity. The awards are open to films of any genre that showcase children overcoming challenges, such as poverty, violence, illness, and discrimination, and demonstrate their resilience, courage, and determination.

About NYICFF

Established in 1997, NYICFF’s mission is rooted in the belief of film as a path for young people to understand themselves and others. All programs are designed to celebrate the beauty and power of film, spark the inherent capacity of children to connect with complex, nuanced art, and encourage the creation of intelligent films that represent and celebrate unique, diverse, and historically excluded voices. NYICFF serves children, students, families, educators, filmmakers, and media arts professionals through its core activities: the annual, Oscar®-qualifying NYC film festival and national touring program; Film-Ed, a media arts and literacy program; and year-round special events.  https://nyicff.org/

Shine Global and New York International Children’s Film Festival Announce Partnership for Unstoppable Kids Prize for the 2024 Festival and Shine Global Resilience Awards

Shine Global and New York International Children’s Film Festival Announce Partnership for Unstoppable Kids Prize for the 2024 Festival and Shine Global Resilience Awards

News

Shine Global and New York International Children’s Film Festival Announce Partnership for Unstoppable Kids Prize for the 2024 Festival and Shine Global Resilience Awards

March 14, 2024, New York, NY – Shine Global and the New York International Children’s Film Festival today announced the launch of a new partnership that establishes a prize for filmmakers participating in the New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) to participate in Shine Global’s annual Resilience Awards, beginning in 2024.

This collaboration establishes a special prize for filmmakers participating in the New York International Children’s Film Festival, opening doors for them to be recognized and celebrated through Shine Global’s prestigious Resilience Awards. An award of $2,500 will be granted to the winning film in a new filmmaking category focused on children’s resilience for films intended to be viewed by youth audiences. The winner will be invited to participate in Shine Global’s 2024’s Resilience Awards events, which recognize and celebrate the films and filmmakers that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity.

Ringing in its 27th year, NYICFF is North America’s largest and most prestigious film festival for young audiences. The 2024 festival runs March 2 through 17 at venues throughout New York City and features nearly 100 short and feature films from 23 countries. Since its founding, NYICFF, an Oscar®-qualifying festival for short film, and its conscious curation has become known for presenting the best work from around the world for young people—even if they were not made with young people in mind.

Shine Global’s annual Resilience Awards honor exceptional films that center around the resilience of children. It aims to shed light on the countless stories of courage, strength, and determination that children demonstrate in challenging circumstances. These films not only inspire audiences but also help create awareness and promote positive change in society. Past winners include the feature documentaries Lift (2022, Directed by David Petersen) and Name Me Lawand (2023, Directed by Edward Lovelace) and the short documentary Ayenda (2023, directed by Marie Margolius).

“At Shine Global, we believe in the power of storytelling to inspire change and create a positive impact on young minds,” said Shine Global Co-Founder and Executive Director Susan MacLaury. “Our new partnership with the New York International Children’s Film Festival not only strengthens our commitment to supporting and recognizing talented filmmakers dedicated like us to improving children’s lives, but also to telling compelling stories for young audiences. We’re thrilled to provide a unique platform for filmmakers to showcase their work by being a part of our annual Resilience Awards.”

“So many of the films we screen naturally feature the strength of young people meeting and conquering challenges; our goal is always to help our audience recognize their own power and potential reflected on screen,” said NYICFF Director of Programming Maria-Christina Villaseñor. “We are thrilled and grateful to be able to further recognize the filmmakers behind these intrepid stories through a partnership with Shine Global and the Resilience Awards.”

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About Shine Global

Shine Global is a non-profit media company that improves the lives of children by telling powerful stories to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about underserved children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on Capitol Hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.

Since our founding in 2005, Shine Global films have won more than 100 major awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject for Inocente and an Academy Award®-nomination and two Emmys® for War/Dance. Recent films include the documentary-animation hybrid Liyana, the hit documentary The Eagle Huntress, Through Our Eyes: Homefront which is available on HBOMax, and the Ariel Award winner Home Is Somewhere Else, which is currently in festivals.

ABOUT SHINE GLOBAL’S RESILIENCE AWARDS

This annual event recognizes and celebrates the films and filmmakers that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity. The awards are open to films of any genre that showcase children overcoming challenges, such as poverty, violence, illness, and discrimination, and demonstrate their resilience, courage, and determination.

About NYICFF

Established in 1997, NYICFF’s mission is rooted in the belief of film as a path for young people to understand themselves and others. All programs are designed to celebrate the beauty and power of film, spark the inherent capacity of children to connect with complex, nuanced art, and encourage the creation of intelligent films that represent and celebrate unique, diverse, and historically excluded voices. NYICFF serves children, students, families, educators, filmmakers, and media arts professionals through its core activities: the annual, Oscar®-qualifying NYC film festival and national touring program; Film-Ed, a media arts and literacy program; and year-round special events.  https://nyicff.org/