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Girls Impact the World Film Festival—A Forum for Social Change


A four-women collaboration hopes to harness the creativity of young women around the world, empowering them to address concerns central to their lives.

Opportunities for large-scale creative problem solving by women seem few and far between, in part due to lack of access to forums where ideas ripe for development can be heard. One such forum, the Girls Impact the World Film Festival, is a collaboration among four enterprising women. 

Lila Igram, founder of Connecther, met three Harvard students, Kerry Hammond, Ara Parikh, and Kara Kubarych of the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative, during a campus conference on business in 2011. Combining their passionate involvement in women's issues, social enterprise, and media, they developed the idea for an international contest to encourage creative expression and problem solving by young women whose voices may otherwise go unheard.

The philosophy behind Girls Impact the World is that, within any given culture or society, women and girls are in the best position to address the issues directly facing them.  To that end, Girls Impact the World is now accepting short video submissions featuring women as key agents for social change. High school and undergrad students from around the world can submit three to five minute videos in various formats to address such issues as political participation, poverty, health care, teen marriage and other persistent problems. 

“Women can be our own worst enemies and impose a lot of our own barriers on ourselves,” said Kerry Hammond, who regularly offers motivational talks to groups of young women.  Quoting Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Talk titled Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders, she went on, “Women are the ones who put our hands down first.  We often underestimate our own abilities.  So it was important to us as the festival organizers that we empower young women to come up with their own solutions to the problems that are affecting them.”

Submissions from beginning filmmakers of both genders are welcome in all styles including documentary, narrative, animation, and music videos.  While the prospect of submitting an amateur film to a contest may seem daunting, the festival organizers insist that judges will value clarity of message and the impact of a proposed solution above the production value of these submissions. Judges such as Liberian Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee and Zainab Salbi, founder of the grassroots humanitarian organization Women for Women International, will be looking for innovative ideas—not who can make the most professional-looking film.

All entries will be posted on the Connecther website and linked to on the participants’ YouTube pages as soon as they are received.  In addition to formal judging, the video with the greatest number of views will win a People’s Choice Award, giving the power to market their own idea to the filmmakers themselves. Once all submissions are received—the deadline is January 10, 2013—the judges will select the top entry from among ten finalists.

In addition to monetary prizes and personalized feedback on their film and concept, winners will have their films distributed via the Social Innovation Collaborative, Connecther, and Creative Vision Networks.  Winners will also receive an internship opportunity at Creative Vision Networks in Los Angeles.  An official red carpet screening at Harvard University is scheduled on February 23, 2013.

Learn more about how to submit your video for Girls Impact the World, and follow the discussion on Twitter using the #GirlsImpactTheWorldFF hashtag.

More articles by Category: Arts and culture, Feminism, Girls, Media
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