The world is increasingly visual, story-driven and mobile dominated. Empower Women Media identifies, equips and mobilizes leaders to create short films with empowering messages. The organization has partnered with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation to host an online film festival and award ceremony on August 1, 2020 to honor and celebrate the 2020 winning films. Lou Ann Sabatier, Director of Communications for 21Wilberforce, served as a judge for this year’s film competition.
“In an age when there is an urgent need for inclusion and appreciation of diversity, this film competition has empowered new voices from around the world to contribute to the discussion,” says Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, co- sponsor of the competition. “I look forward to showcasing these stories in the months to come, especially in support of religious inclusion in workplaces worldwide,” Grim added.
Long Road to Freedom by Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake (Afghanistan and US) took the grand prize in the live short film category. District 18 by Maral Karee (Iran and Canada) claimed grand prize for the best animated short film.
In Long Road to Freedom, Mariya shares her story of immigration to Canada and then the US, where she and her team – in collaboration with local businesses in Kansas City – empower refugees and promote freedom of belief through in Kansas City through Global FC, a football/mentoring program that bridges diverse cultures to come together, forming just communities where all are free to be fully-known and fully-loved in pursuit of their God-given purpose and potential.
District 18 is the story of a young woman living in a society where diversity is shunned, but she longs for freedom of belief. She finds it in a land where Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is celebrated: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
The short films are artful and compelling explorations of the impact of freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) in the workplace and community. Whether inspired by real-life events or fictional stories, animated, or experimental, the films thoughtfully seek to affirm that FoRB is good for business and thriving communities.
Register to attend the free virtual film festival on August 1, 2020.