Award Winning Short Films Shine A Light On Heroes Around The Globe @ My Hero Film Fest

Credit: Fabric Mural designed and created by Fauzia Minallah is held by MY HERO Film Festival Winners and Honorees
Credit: Fabric Mural designed and created by Fauzia Minallah is held by MY HERO Film Festival Winners and Honorees

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SANTA MONICA, CA - 11/22/2016
 – The 12th annual MY HERO International Festival brought together filmmakers, artists and honorees from around the world at the Herb Alpert Educational Village, Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica.

Best of Fest went to Director, Will Parrinello, from The Mill Valley Film Group for, "WATER SONG," a short film featuring Màxima Acuńa; a Peruvian farmer who without fear for her life and security, had the courage to stand up and fight for her land against a multi-national mining corporation. This film also won the Dan Eldon Activist Award presented to Parrinello by Kathy Eldon at the MY HERO Film Festival.

Esther Wojcicki – Global Educator Award
Erin Gruwell, last years Global Educator Winner, presented Esther Wojcicki with The Global Educator Award. Wojcicki, teaches journalism to students at Palo Alto High School, is a Journalist and leader of a global education movement. She is also the author of "Moonshots in Education."  “Woj” as she is lovingly called by her students, is a pioneer of blended learning in classrooms, an activist, and a mentor to many.  Her approach of giving her students agency in their work has not only led to the production of award winning student run publications, but has empowered them to achieve a great level of success in multiple areas. The MY HERO Project is indeed honored to have recognized such a wonderful hero for her continued work mentoring leaders of today and tomorrow

Eva Haller - Women Transforming Media Award

Haller, an activist, mentor, philanthropist and holocaust survivor has been a driving force in numerous not for profit organizations that support youth and women. Despite having seen the worst of humanity, Eva Haller has dedicated her life to empowering young people from all over the world to be change makers. 
Jeni Stepanek - Humanitarian Award
Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D, mother, author and advocate for peace is the winner of The MY HERO Project’s 2016 Humanitarian Award. By mentoring youth and adults who are committed to peace, Jeni has earned the nickname “Mama Peace” from leaders around the world. Stepanek, who is age 57, recently celebrated her "83rd" birthday. It was a bucket list goal, celebrated early, that included a surprise visit from Oprah Winfrey. MY HERO is thrilled to be able to share this beautiful short film tribute to Jeni, created by Oprah.
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. 

Science and Technology Award
Manu Prakash from Stanford University, is the featured hero in the film, "THE $1 MICROSCOPE" awarded the 2016 MY HERO Strides in Science and Technology Award. The film directed Michael Schwartz documents the progress the Professor has achieved with a device made from paper that allows students to see up to 1000 times... Prakash promises to make microscopes as widely available as pencils.

The Immersive Storytelling Award

Dr. Miguel Nicolelis from Duke University, was awarded the Immersive Storytelling Award for THE WALK AGAIN PROJECT. Dr. Miguel and his team are using virtual reality technology in a way that it has never been used before- as a therapeutic approach of helping individuals with spinal cords injuries. His research despite still in its early stages, has given hope to a lot of people. 

Ron Kovic Peace Prize

DirectorLiz Mermin, of the Thomson Reuters Foundation was awarded the Kovic Peace Prize for her film, POST-WAR MACHISMO: BE A MAN. The film tells a story of a former teenage bully, Dragan Kisin, from Bosnia Herzegovina who became an activist and a leader in his community. Filmmaker, Mermin flew in from London to receive her award and told the audience the award’s $1,000 cash prize will go to the 'Be A Man Club' in Bosnia Herzegovina 

Relationships First Award
Judy Anderson, a MY HERO Board Member and President of the Foundation for the Contemporary Family, presented awards to two films:

MUTUAL RESCUE: Eric and Peety, which tells the story of a 340 pound man whose friendship with his dog helped him lose weight and regain his health. 
THE MOSQUE ACROSS THE STREET, produced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran shows how congregants at a local church welcomed their neighbors building a Mosque. The award money will be used to help build a playground to be shared by both communities.

The Emerging Artist Award – Trey Carlisle
Trey has been working with the Righteous Conversations Project and other not for profit groups making documentaries and music that celebrates tolerance, peace and compassion. He was one of several directors in a film that won a prize called, US AND US made with support from The Righteous Conversations Project.

Animation - Mentor / Student Collaboration – Fauzia Minnallah - Artist & Director
Director Minallah, was awarded the Student/Mentor Award for her short film AMAI’S PAINTINGS OF PEACE, a tribute to the children of the Army Public School who were killed by terrorists. The film tells the story of children from various schools and churches painting murals of love, courage, and resilience in memory of the children massacred by terrorists at the Army Public School in Pakistan.  Minallah flew in from the Stockholm Children's Book Festival to receive her MY HERO award. 
MY HERO Song Contest
- Guitars in the Classroom bestowed the first place award for the Song Contest to STAND UP,” a song by P.M. Eaton that features the Girard College Lower School Choir. The song’s message is that, with love, care and service, we can all be heroes, and make the world a better place.

MY HERO is a not for profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to sharing stories of heroes from all parts of the world. MY HERO's award winning web site ( hosts the world's largest archive of hero themed stories, music, art and short films. 

MY HERO accepts submissions of short inspiring films made by students and professionals that shine a light on those working to improve the quality of life on earth for all.

As we head to the Thanksgiving Holiday and seek to find stories of hope and inspiration, these films will certainly deliver. Family friendly all ages storytelling can be found on

All are invited to join the celebration and share stories, art, films and music with MY HERO’s global learning community.

Page created on 11/22/2016 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/7/2017 11:43:24 PM