Global Digital Platforms Unite April 28th to Create Worldwide Conversation on Poverty and Hunger

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Los Angeles — On Monday April 28th, 2014 many of the internet’s most popular websites—including El Pais, Fandor, Huffington Post, Hulu, IndieWire, Reelhouse, RYOT News, Salon, The Guardian, Upworthy , VHX, Vimeo and VICE News —will unite in a common mission to create an international conversation and increase awareness of the global problems of poverty and hunger. Sundance Channel Global is the international media partner.   

Each site will independently showcase the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge project in order to inspire discussion, shift perception and dismiss stereotypes of poverty and hunger.  Produced with grants from Sundance Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, these five films premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and screened again publicly at Sundance London at the 02 on Sunday April 27.   

The films’ subjects include a young girl whose roof garden allows her to dream, a family in a small fishing town that develops sustainable fishing practices, entrepreneurs who are changing the face of Africa, displaced people in Haiti who start a neighborhood garden that has multiple benefits, and an Indian boy that dreams of becoming a chef. 

These five films were commissioned to launch an invitation to filmmakers everywhere to compete and contribute to the discussion through a global open call for short film submssions. The Sundance Short Film Challenge encourages filmmakers to create and submit films of three to five minutes in length that celebrate the ingenuity and imagination that citizens employ to overcome real life issues brought on by extreme poverty.

The five winning filmmakers will receive $10,000 in prize money and travel to see their work screened at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Users can submit their films through July 1, 2014. The online call for entries is being managed by There is no fee to apply; more information can be found at

The five films produced for the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge are:

After My Garden Grows
Director: Megan Mylan
India / Documentary

A young girl in rural India tills a small plot of land to feed her family and plant seeds of independence and financial freedom in her male dominated community.

Director Megan Mylan directed and produced the Oscar-winning film Smile Pinki, which broadcast on HBO and the Sundance Channel. Her film, Lost Boys of Sudan, had a 70-city theatrical release and a national television broadcast on PBS’s POV.

Am I Going Too Fast?
Directors: Hank Willis Thomas, Christopher Myers
Kenya / Experimental Doc

Am I Going Too Fast? is a digital tapestry of the intersecting worlds and interactions of craftspeople, shopkeepers, and ordinary folks whose lives have been transformed by new technologies, cell phone banking, and micro-finance; threads that weave together to form a web of connection and possibility in contemporary Nairobi.

Hank Willis Thomas is the creator of Question Bridge: Black Males, a non-fiction new media project and recipient of a New Media Fellowship, New Media Fund grant from the Tribeca Film Institute and Aperture West Book Prize.

Co-Director Christopher Myers is an artist and writer best known for his books for young people, which have garnered Caldecott Honors and been shortlisted for the National Book Award.

Directors: Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman
Haiti / Documentary

Haiti’s internally displaced people start a micro-garden movement to combat post-earthquake hunger and despair.

Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman produced and directed the feature documentary Remote Area Medical, which premiered at the 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and was supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.

The Masterchef
Director: Ritesh Batra
India / Narrative

Akhil, a young shoeshine boy, dreams of becoming a gourmet chef when he has a chance encounter with India’s most popular TV cuisiner.

Director Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox will screen at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It won the Grand Rail d’Or at Cannes 2013 and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for North America. Batra also won the Best Director prize at the Odessa International Film Festival.

Director: Tod Lending
Madagascar / Documentary

A fourteen-year-old girl tells how her family and village in Madagascar improved their lives of hunger and poverty after scientists worked with them to protect their fishing grounds from overfishing and adopt sustainable practices.

Director Tod Lending is an Academy Award-nominated and national Emmy-winning producer, director, and cinematographer whose work has aired nationally on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, HBO, and Al Jazeera.

Sundance Institute
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing independent artists and introducing audiences to their new work. Internationally recognized for its Sundance Film Festival, the Institute annually supports over 200 artists with more than a dozen labs for directors, screenwriters, documentary editors, composers, playwrights, producers and New Frontier artists and grants more than $2 million to artists. The Institute has supported projects including Fruitvale Station, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Question Bridge, Wadjda, God Loves Uganda, Gideon’s Army, Spring Awakening, Appropriate and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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