MY HERO Project Unveils 2014 Ron Kovic Award Winner

Contact: Wendy Milette  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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LAGUNA BEACH, CA – 10/09/14 - Eight powerful films about peace brought tough competition to this year's Ron Kovic Peace Prize. The $1,000 cash prize is given each year by The MY HERO Project and donated by U.S. Marine-turned-peace-activist Ron Kovic.

Kovic is a Vietnam veteran who was left paralyzed by the war. Upon returning home, he focused his energy and efforts on peace. Kovic's autobiography Born On the Fourth of July became a bestselling book as well as a film directed by Oliver Stone. His story offered a glimpse into a world most people did not understand.

Kovic has spent the past 40 years as an author, artist and advocate for peace. Each year, he choses a short film that best addresses the subject of peace and awards the filmmaker a $1,000 prize. This year's finalists include:
  • Baucau Music and Arts Festival, by producer Callie Barlow. The film unveils the efforts of local musicians in the new nation of Baucau who are using music and art to help citizens feel a sense of comfort and hope. 
  • Global Youth Peace Summit, a 4-minute short by The Amala Foundation, in which we hear reactions of young people from around the world as they attend a week-long gathering dedicated to personal growth, healing, cultural exchange, community building and leadership development.
  • A Long Walk to Peace, a short film that follows young people in the preparation and participation of the Forum of Hope, a conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which advocacy is taught through music, art and critical thinking in hopes that the youth will become successful leaders who bring peace to the region.
  • We Are the Ones, a trailer for the upcoming documentary by filmmakers Michael Skinner and Jon Michael Shink, which tells of a feud in South Sudan and a group of doctors who bring their talents and skills to the region to promote peace and healing.
  • A Quest for Peace: Nonviolence Among Religions, by filmmaker Matthew Evans, that takes a look at religion-based war, terrorism and conflict and the efforts of religious leaders working to promote tolerance, understanding and respect for diversity. Featured is Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who is furthering his grandfather's teachings of non-violence. 
  • Beyond Right and Wrong, a documentary trailer by Lekha Singh and Rebecca Chalklin, directed by Roger Spottiswoode, which tells the separate stories of victims and perpetrators of violent acts who struggle to overcome the past and move toward forgiveness.
  • Hands Up Don't Shoot, a rap music video produced by students at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School. The video sends a message of love and peace in light of the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • Dialogue in Nigeria: Muslims and Christians Creating Their Future, a documentary excerpt by producers Len and Libby Traubman, which tells the story of 200 young Muslilms and Christians who participated in an interfaith conference in Nigeria in an effort to promote interfaith communication.
The top honor went to Blessed is the Peacemaker, by producers Taqi Juba, Ghani Muhammad, Evodie Ngoy, Tyson Sandford-Griffin, and Joshua White. The 10-minute documentary tells of the organization Safe Streets, an outreach program in which former gang members counsel Baltimore area youth in an effort to prevent gun violence and reduce homicides.

The winner was announced at The MY HERO Project's Peace Day Celebration in Santa Monica. The finalist films can be seen online at:

Page created on 10/9/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/10/2017 4:44:24 PM

Related Links

MY HERO Screening Room - Blessed is the Peacemakerby Taqi Juba, Ghani Muhammad, Evodie Ngoy, Tyson Sandford-Griffin, and Joshua White