WINNERS:  'Faith's World' is the winner of The People's Choice Award and has come joint first in the Overcoming Obstacles category at the 2021 MY HERO Film Festival and 'Against the Current' has won the Trailer category. Huge congratulations. 

And Holly Carter has won the Global Media Educator Award.

BYkids - Empowering Americans with Knowledge and Giving Children a Voice

by Abigail Richardson from Oakham in United Kingdom

Kids tell honest and important stories, yet they often go unheard

146461Media Educator AwardMY HERO

MY HERO Festival is thrilled to announce that four BYkids films are finalists in their 2021 International Film Festival.

BYkids is a non-profit organization that mentors teens to create short documentaries to tell their stories through film and share the realities of global inequality and injustice on the world stage.

Said Holly Carter, Founder and Executive Director, “We give kids agency to inspire, empower and enact change. Kids learn citizenship through empathy, using film as a starting point for understanding. By giving kids the tools and mentoring to make documentary films about their lives and packaging those films for a wide American audience, BYkids gives voice to youth from diverse cultures, and encourages international understanding and engagement by giving viewers concrete ways to respond.”

Each year, the organizations' Story Selection Committee, which comprises of UNICEF and a group of nationally-recognized journalists, filmmakers, teens and non-profit leaders, creates a list of potential stories from which five are chosen. Each story is then given to a BYkids’ Film Mentor who spends a month helping the young person make the film.

BYkids also partners with public television, Discovery Education, CBS, and PenPal Schools which ensures the films reach millions of viewers.

MY HERO Festival is thrilled to announce that four BYkids films are finalists in their 2021 International Film Festival.

The Finalists

  1. AGAINST THE CURRENT  - Native American teen activist Daunnette Moniz-Reyome shares her family’s journey to retain the sacred rituals and values of their culture in the wake of centuries of loss from disease, war and government policies.

146177Against the CurrentBYkidsDaunnette Moniz-Reyome, 17 years old, is a member of the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska and a senior at Walthill Public School, on the Omaha Reservation where she lives.  A model since age 11, she has appeared in Teen Vogue. She uses her platform to bring light to Native American issues. In 2017, she was a guest speaker at the United Nations International Day of the Girl event. Daunnette documents life for herself, her family and her friends as they attempt to juggle modern society and Native American values and rituals. The film illuminates how Native youth can use their culture and traditions to heal from historical trauma.


  1. BUDDHISM, BHUTAN AND ME - Preserving Bhutan’s heritage, embracing Bhutan’s opportunities.

146178Buddhism, Bhutan and Me BYkidsRinzin Jurmey chose to join a monastery and dedicate his life to Buddhism at the age of 11, loving its rituals and traditions. Now 18, he moves harmoniously between mountain village and city, embracing tradition and pop culture, religion and hip-hop, prayer and video games.

Tradition and progress ebb and flow in Bhutan, a small landlocked country in the Himalayas between India and China with a population (748,931). Isolated by geography, Bhutan opted to close itself off from the world culturally. Tourism was banned until 1974, and television and the Internet were banned until 1999. Run historically as a kingdom with a monarch, Bhutan implemented a democracy at the edict of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and held its first elections in 2008. Buddhism was integrated into the country in the seventh century and remains woven throughout its culture.

However, Bhutan’s population is young, with 60 percent under 30, and eager to see what the world looks like on social media, to learn about Western dress and activities like break dancing, video games and pop culture.

In his film, Rinzin illustrates Bhutan’s duality, as we move with him between a mountain village, love of prayer and ritual, and urban life, breakdance and video games.


  1. FAITH’S WORLD - Living with Physical Disability (USA) 

146179Faith's WorldBYkids16-year-old Faith Guilbault shares life with physical disability and her wish that students and society embrace our similarities, not our differences.

Whether by birth, accident or illness, nearly 14% of our student population (seven million kids) in the United States is disabled. Faith Guilbault is one of them. Born with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cortical vision impairment, she can now walk with the use of canes due to her fierce determination to be independent and weekly physical therapy sessions. Because she was born with neurological blindness, Faith attends the Maryland School for the Blind where she works one-on-one with teachers who are guiding her towards new ways to learn.

Faith shares her many ways of being physically active in the world, from skydiving to traveling to New York City where she walks the catwalk during Fashion Week with Runway of Dreams, showcasing adaptive clothing lines that enable people with physical disabilities to dress themselves.


  1. L’CHAIM- Resurgent Jewish Life (Germany) 2020

146180L’CHAIMBYkidsMentored by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Anja Baron, Semon Shabaev (age 19) tells his story about resurgent Jewish life in Germany at a time of rising antisemitism worldwide.

L’Chaim is a film about the resurgence of Jewish life in Berlin, directed by 19-year-old Semon Shabaev, whose parents emigrated to Germany from Russia in the 1990s. Semon’s film dives into the question of identity, of feeling both German and Jewish, and addresses the historic burden and guilt of the Holocaust carried by his adoptive country. Semon explores German-Jewish identity and the Holocaust by examining silent memorials, active remembrance, and daily echoes of the Holocaust in everyday life in Berlin. He focuses on efforts to both understand antisemitism and find ways not to repeat the past. At the same time, he introduces us to a lively community of young German Jews and the joyous celebration of their rich heritage and culture.

To find out more about this incredible organization go to:

About MY HERO International Film Festival

The MY HERO International Film Festival brings together professional and youth filmmakers who honor local and global heroes working for positive change in the world.  Thanks to generous sponsors, prizes are awarded to elementary, middle school, high school, college and professionals in a variety of categories including documentary, narrative, music video, animation, experimental, and more.

To view the 2021 award-winning films, go to Winners

For more details about MY HERO's International Film Festival, please visit

This story is prepared with much gratitude to Holly Carter, Founder and Executive Director of BYkids.

Page created on 11/18/2021 8:16:22 PM

Last edited 1/4/2022 2:57:38 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

BYkids Website - BYkids. An organizarion producing inspiring youth-created documentaries about pressing global issues to use as catalysts for empathy, connection and change.