The first-annual UPTOGOOD Impact Film Festival was thrilled to announce their two winners and six runner ups, out of 356 student submissions, at the UPTOGOOD Social Impact Film Festival Awards ceremony on Saturday, April 22nd in Los Angeles. All eight finalists were awarded prizes designed to help the winners expand their campaigns and increase their visibility.
“The immense diversity of applicants in this festival prove that there is a large, inspired generation of young changemakers who are driven to do a little good in the world,” said the Co-Founders of UPTOGOOD and Co-Producers of the UPTOGOOD Impact Film Festival, Mika and Emi Onishi. “By using our platform to amplify their impact, we as a community of social impact practitioners will continue to do all that we can to highlight their hard work so that others may benefit from it.”
The finalists were selected by a team of influential, social impact practitioners and filmmaking experts, and judged on their storytelling quality and social impact campaigning potential.
Check out all eight films below, and congrats to the winners!
“This [film] matters to me because I know that sometimes we can be afraid of our own minds. I believe that in order to conquer those fears we have to find our own mental trip. It can be something big or small, and it most definitely doesn’t have to be as extreme as what I did. I have had anxiety and panic attacks all my life and I’ve dealt with them by putting myself in the public eye. I create films, I give speeches, I’m a poet, and an athlete. I’ve designed my life around pushing myself forward and I want to motivate others to do the same thing in a positive way. No road to success is easy but it get’s easier when we always refer to it as a road to success.”
“Sexual assault is something so prevalent in today’s culture, that it is of the utmost importance that we continue the dialogue of how to prevent it from happening. [The video] brings attention to a situation that can happen at any party, and to anyone. As a high school student, brother, and best friend to many female peers, this important issue is always something talked about in school. Unfortunately, most of the time, the responsibility is put on the victim to ‘not be raped’. As someone who has known people that have gone through this exact situation only makes this campaign more important to me. If someone had seen the signs and stepped in, then perhaps the victim would not be a victim to begin with. I believe that promising to be more conscious and continuing to talk about this issue will fight to lower the statistics.”
“In today’s society, STEM professions are overwhelmingly dominated by males…Unfortunately, society is losing touch with the innovation nearly half its population could provide. The low number of women in STEM has dire implications for the financial security of women, society’s economic growth, and global innovation. Through our experiences as young women pursuing STEM, we wish to share our experiences and encourage girls to overcome societal pressures…We want our world to be surrounded by acceptance and equality; a place where anyone can be a computer scientist, doctor, engineer or mathematician.”
“revoLUZion addresses the issue of education in developing countries. The film also addresses the impact of alternative education in Guatemala, which is the main philosophy of Los Patojos. Through its philosophy of “Patojismo,” Los Patojos provides an alternative education that encourages its students to turn their dreams and ideas into action. The staff at Los Patojos do not just teach students, they are building revolutionaries.[My experience in Guatemala]…taught me that not everyone has access to a school that is a 15 minute drive away or the privilege of a bus to pick them up. My experience also showed me that there is not one way to educate a child. This campaign is important to my crew and me because we want others to see the narrative of education from this perspective, a perspective that many people in developing countries experience.”
“As one of the leaders of my school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) for the past two years, I have worked with my peers to find both internal and external acceptance. In this role, I have had discussions about how to embrace yourself, even if others don’t, and how to be an educator to people new to these ideas. Last year, I found that I could use my filmmaking expertise to teach my community. I made a piece about microaggressions perpetrated against LGBTQ+ people. Further, I am currently working on a documentary film about wardrobe shopping with transgender students and the ways that their experiences both are and are not so different from the experiences of cisgender people. This work is helping me to bring voice to people who often go unheard.”
“After interviewing 40 high school girls, we discovered that nearly 80% openly feel the media negatively influences their perception of body image. Seeing the self-esteem of young girls plummet, we wanted to do the opposite; so we told girls they were beautiful just the way they were. The reactions pulled our heartstrings. Even though I know the negative pressures of social media won’t go away, I know the impact a small compliment can have on someone’s whole day. Even something so small can make such a large difference.”
“Impaired awareness of illness (anosognosia) is a major problem because it is the single largest reason why individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not take their medications. I wanted to help create this PSA to educate myself and create a learning tool for others in the same boat. More recently, people I care about have been seriously affected by mental illness and I realize that the more I learn the better I can be as a supportive friend.”
“We are all part of a nation of immigrants. Both of our families come from other countries, our grandparents are immigrants and went through the same struggles that many in this country endure today. Although we, like many are Americans and enjoy the privileges that come with this, we remember that this was not always the case for our families…[Empathy] is extremely important. And if we remember that we’re all originally from somewhere else and that our families were once immigrants, we could help make the world a little better.”