Film contest produces positive visions for future

$30,000 of prize money awarded to short films offering solutions for a better world

The winners of a public film contest showcasing solutions to the challenges facing humanity, have been announced.

Filmmakers and storytellers from 44 countries submitted over 300 entries to the Possible Futures Film Contest, dealing with many issues, from bullying to veganism, women’s rights or just how to be yourself. Produced both by amateurs and the more experienced, all the films conveyed a positive message on how to create a better future.

Entrants were required to create a short film, one to five minutes in length, which imagined a more positive yet possible future for our world. The first prize, the Possible Futures Award, was for $10,000 and a trip to the Amazon, which went to filmmaker Nitin Das.

A simple but effective story, Nitin’s film describes a small girl called Ishi who can do many things, such as sing and dance but who also “knows the meaning of life and can live meaningfully” by using sustainable methods to cook and to light her house. The film calls for all of us to reduce our carbon emissions so as to not put future generations at risk.

Nitin was formerly a brand manager for a large magazine in India. Now he runs an independent film production house, specialising in entertainment films with socially relevant themes.

Second prize, The Pachamama Award, went to The Smooch Project, a film promoting global forgiveness and the need to recognise similarities in ourselves rather than just the differences. Its producer, Dawn Mikkelson, was awarded $5,000 plus a trip to the Amazon.

“What could you forgive?” the film asks. It is based on a clip taken from a full-length documentary, shows a mother kissing the cheek of her son’s killer. The audience gets to hear both sides of the story and discover how the mother managed to forgive the man that murdered her child and how she has now even grown to treat him like her own son.

The winners were chosen by a panel of 5 judges including spiritual teacher Geshe Yong Dong, who has gained the highest academic degree awarded in Tibetan Monastic education, and Trudie Styler, a global activist as well as a successful producer and actress. Trudie’s own organisation, The Rainforest Foundation, has to date raised $25m to help indigenous rainforest peoples.

Director Chris Eyre, the first native American director to receive a national theatrical release, was also on the panel, alongside Annie Leonard and Neil Huxley.

Four categories were included in the competition: Peace and Freedom, Sustainability and Beyond, Fair Societies, and Human Fulfilment.

As well as the main prizes awarded by the judges, the public voted for their favourite in each category. The four winners of the public vote received $1,000 each, with the overall favourite claiming $2,500.

The prize money was given with the aim of helping spread the positive message that we can change the world for the better, together.

The Possible Future Film Contest’s project manager, Karen Dallett, said: “Political and media systems throughout the world capture very few positive ideas. Individuals and communities are creating solutions, in the smallest of ways, which are having an effect on shifting the consciousness of humanity and are promoting wellbeing for the planet.”

Partners supporting the competition included The Pachamama Alliance and ‘Four Years. Go.’

The Pachamama Alliance works with the indigenous Achuar people of Ecuador, to help them preserve their land and culture as well as offer them education on issues such as birth control.

‘Four Years. Go.’ wants to help shift humanity’s direction. The organisation is encouraging people to unite in taking action that will push the world toward a thriving future for humanity by the end of 2014.

All winning films can be viewed on the competition website and the date for the 2012 Positive Futures Film Contest is due to be released on 8 November.