Hungerbytes Competition Spawns Fresh Takes On Hunger

The latest edition of WFP’s annual hunger bytes! competition produced a surge of videos highlighting world hunger. One winner contrasted ‘rich world’ diet culture with the plight of the hungry poor. Another put an emergency food ration in a highly unusual context.

By Christine DiGangi

ROME – The desire of countless people around the world to be thin and light struck two amateur filmmakers from Mexico as extremely ironic when seen alongside the daily struggle for food by a billion people.

The two filmmakers, Carlos Antonio Michel Sandoval and Miguel Angel Mier Delgado, decided this was a message the world needed to pay attention to. To make this happen, they entered their video “Dreams” in the hunger bytes! Competition. They won.

“Hunger and inequality are part of daily life here,” Delgado said, referring to what he sees in his home country, Mexico. “Being witness to this is depressing, and I want to do something to change it … to have an impact, no matter how small.”

Now, the two inhabitants of Zacatecas, Mexico, will travel to drought-ridden Guatemala to use their winning filmmaking skills on the frontline against hunger. The Central American country has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition – the highest in Latin America.
14-Year-Old Winner
Delgado and Sandoval weren’t the only ones with a striking message. Fourteen-year-old John Beck won the Under-18 division of hunger bytes! and will receive a full web video production kit, provided by AVID Technology.

Beck, an American student attending Ambrit Rome International School, filmed a Silver-Service waiter setting the table for an elegant meal, only to reveal that the main course is a ready-to-eat food ration. His video is a call to action, asking viewers what they’re doing to help the billion hungry of the world.

“I really enjoyed working on the video and was glad to see that so many people had seen it and received its message,” Beck said. “Every hungry child is our responsibility.”
More than 60 videos came in from around the world before the December 31 deadline. The five videos in each category with the most views by February 15 moved on as finalists.

Celebrity judges

It took two weeks and four celebrity judges from the worlds of film, web, and humanitarian aid to choose the winners. Drew Barrymore, actress and WFP ambassador against hunger; Steve Grove, head of YouTube news and politics; Lance Vollard, Warner Bros. head of marketing; 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, WFP's Director of Communications. “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.”