Celebrate the best of humanity.
Welcome, guest! Login or Register


Director of Media


SANTA MONICA, CA - 10/23/16 - The MY HERO Project is proud to announce The Righteous Conversations Project as the 2016 Winner of The MY HERO International Film Festival’s Media AwardThe Media Award is given to an organization or individual that uses the power of media, art and technology to inspire, educate and transform our global learning community. 

The Righteous Conversations Project brings Holocaust survivors and teens together. The survivors share their stories of resiliency, courage and resistance. In turn, the teens create powerful short films and Public Service Announcements from the stories. Within the testimony by those who have survived genocide, the students grapple with understanding that so much of what the survivors have to say applies to the travesties in the world today.

Filmmaker Trey Carlisle, Holocaust Survivor Michelle Rodri and Educator Cheri Gaulke at the 2016 MY HERO International Film Festival

Educator Cheri Gaulke accepted the award for the Righteous Conversations Project at the MY HERO International Film Festival Saturday, November 19th, in Santa Monica. Gaulke, and Righteous Conversations director Samara Hutman have been at the helm of The Righteous Conversations Project since it's inception in 2011. As the number of survivors dwindles down to a smattering, the need for preserving their testimony and legacy for the next generation has become more imperative than ever. 

"I think young people crave truth, and they crave meaning," Hutman said.

Family history, bullying, human trafficking, censorship, and the effects of modern technology are just a few of the topics the students, and survivors, address. The students’ films and PSAs have won awards at film festivals as far away as Jakarta, Indonesia but, equally important, they are gifted to non-profit organizations that champion social justice for use in their media campaigns.

"Year after year, The MY HERO International Film Festival has honored the outstanding achievements of The Righteous Conversations Project," said Jeanne Meyers, Co-founder and Director of The MY HERO Project. "This model program brings together high school students and seniors to create powerful media that promotes human rights for all." 

Participants of the Righteous Conversations Project at The MY HERO International Film Festival

Gaulle, who is the head of Harvard-Westlake’s Upper School Visual Arts Department, is the project’s artistic director. 

“The whole idea just clicked for me,” she said. “I’m really passionate about teens learning how to use media to affect the world, because that’s the world we live in. And teens need to be not just consumers of media but makers of media. I liked the idea of giving them the tools of advertising to sell an idea, rather than a product.”

“People die,” Hutman said. "But our legacies do not; that lives on. And the work we’re doing now is an attempt to create meaning out of these encounters while we still have the opportunity.”

Last year's recipient was Vulcan Productions for the film "Racing Extinction," a documentary by director Louie Psihoyos (The Cove), that explores the plight of endangered species and heroic efforts to protect them. 

The MY HERO International Film Festival is part of The MY HERO Project, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to celebrate the world’s heroes through stories, short films, music and art. For more information, visit MY HERO’s award-winning website www.myhero.com.

Last changed on: 11/24/2016

Righteous Conversations Project website

Watch Us and Us, a film by Righteous Conversations, directed by Trey Carlisle

Watch a film about the Righteous Conversations Project

suggest a book crate your own hero page
Like us on facebook:
Follow us...
about | features | participate | educators | privacy policy | site map

(c)2010 The My Hero Project, Inc. All rights reserved.
Technical errors or questions? support@myheroproject.org