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ROME – Two aspiring filmmakers from Mexico will be off to drought-ridden Guatemala to try out their film-making skills on the frontline against hunger after having won the grand prize for hunger bytes!, an annual viral video competition by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) designed to raise awareness and understanding of the world’s one billion hungry.
In the Over-18 category, amateur filmmakers Carlos Antonio Michel Sandoval and Miguel Angel Mier Delgado of Zacatecas, produced a provocative video entitled “Dreams” which shows that for some people in the world, weight loss is not choice.
“My main source of inspiration for this video was the daily reality of hunger that prevails in every corner of my country as well as around the world. I see it when I’m walking to work and have seen it in both urban and rural settings,” said Sandoval. Inspired by the situation he sees from his life in Mexico, Delgado said, “Hunger and inequality are part of daily life here. Being witness to this is depressing and I want to do something to change it… to have an impact no matter how small.”
For the Under-18 category of winners, 14-year-old John Beck, an American student at Ambrit Rome International School, Italy won a full web video production kit, provided by AVID Technology, industry leaders in video editing software. In his poignant “Dinner is Served”, a Silver-Service waiter elegantly presents a ready-to-eat food ration, similar to those recently given to hungry people during the Haiti earthquake emergency. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCVGccp9ybE
“I really enjoyed working on the video and was glad to see that so many people had seen it and received its message. Every hungry child is our responsibility,” said Beck.
During this year's competition, more than 60 video entries streamed in from all corners of the world, capturing the attention of YouTube voters. After nearly two months of voting on the YouTube website, winners were selected in their respective categories by a panel of judges, leaders in the world of film, web, and humanitarian aid, including Drew Barrymore, actress and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, Steve Grove, Head of YouTube News and Politics, Lance Vollard, Senior Vice-President for International Publicity at Warner Bros. Pictures, and Nancy Roman, Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Partnerships at WFP.
“There are so many innovative ways to join in the fight against hunger, especially with new media,” said Nancy Roman, Director of Communications at WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian agency. “Young people often ask how to help, and I tell them: ‘Use your creativity to get people to talk about hunger in the virtual world’. The new media open up so many new avenues.”
Said Steve Grove, Head of YouTube News and Politics, “Great entries! It's so inspiring to see people putting together videos to spread awareness of WFP’s work.”
“I'm moved by all of them, and especially surprised by the under-18 year olds… all of them have me thinking about hunger – and wanting to do more,” said Lance Volland of Warner Bros. Pictures.
The winning and finalist videos can be viewed on YouTube, the leading video-sharing website which hosted the competition: http://www.youtube.com/hungerbytes, and also on WFP’s website: http://www.wfp.org/hungerbytes. The contest is part of WFP’s “Billion for Billion” campaign, (www.wfp.org/1billion) designed to make a link between the one billion “on-line haves” and the “have nots”, the world's one billion hungry.
Guatemala, where the winning Mexico team will travel, has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world - the highest in Latin America. Its already severe food crisis has recently been worsened by prolonged drought. WFP is planning to assist almost a quarter of a million people with life-saving food rations over the next 5 months.
See all of the finalist videos here, in no particular order:
Shweta & Abhyuday Pradhan
Antonia, Elsa, Sohini Kasoulidou, Hazzim, Kumar