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Stellar shortlist for 2013 PUMA Impact Award

Mrs Choing in Give Up Tomorrow

Mrs Choing in Give Up Tomorrow

As a journalist covering lots of awards, with which you do not always agree (to say the least), it’s nice to finally see a shortlist you couldn’t agree with more. For this year’s PUMA Impact Award, a jury including Susan Sarandon, Gael Garcia Bernal and Ricken Patel, has announced the five competing documentaries to be: The Act of Killing, Bully, Give up Tomorrow, The Interrupters and The Invisible War.

The BRITDOC foundation, which is behind the initiative, today announced the five finalists for the 2013 PUMA Impact Award. A 50,000 Euro award will be awarded  to support the documentary film that has made the most significant positive impact on society or the environment.

The five (very) impressive films cover topics ranging from a miscarriage of justice in the Philippines, to violence intervention and prevention on the streets of Chicago, through to bullying in US schools, an exploration of Indonesia’s death squads and sexual assault in the US military.

“Be under no illusion: the tenacity, commitment and perseverance of the compassionate few can change the world,” said Sarandon. “The work of these five filmmakers is testament to that.”

“The 2013 finalists are the best examples of documentary film as a catalyst for change,” said Justin DeKoszmovszky, PUMA global sustainability strategy manager.

Jess Search, chief executive of the BRITDOC foundation said: “It’s an incredibly competitive set of finalists in 2013. Each and every project has the highest quality filmmaking at its heart, around which are built campaigns for social justice with huge ambitions.”

The winning film will be announced at the PUMA Impact Award Celebration in New York on 13 November.

Here are the shortlisted films: (click on their names for more information)

The Act of Killing (Denmark, 2012), directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, co-directed by Anonymous and Christine Cynn, produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen challenges unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatise their role in the Indonesian genocide. The result is an exposé of a regime of corruption, impunity, and fear built by the perpetrators, and which largely remains in place to this day. The film has begun a shift in discourse in Indonesia and its understanding of its own difficult past.

Bully (USA, 2011), directed by Lee Hirsch, produced by Cynthia Lowen, investigates the most common form of violence young people in the US experience: this year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied. The wide reach of the film put bullying firmly on the map in the US, and makes it acceptable to talk about the issue.

Give Up Tomorrow (USA, 2011), directed by Michael Collins, produced by Marty Syjuco exposes shocking corruption within the judicial system of the Philippines in one of the most sensational trials in the country’s history – that of Paco Larrañaga, a 19-year-old student who was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of two sisters, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. The film has led a remarkable ongoing campaign to overturn the ruling, enabling Paco to be re-housed in San Sebastian and to the launch of the Innocence Project in the Philippines.

The Interrupters (USA, 2011), directed by Steve James, produced by bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz, co-produced by Zak Piper, tells the moving and surprising stories of three ‘violence interrupters’ who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. The film has reframed urban violence and built capacity for the field, ensuring that “violence interrupting” is an accepted strategy for tackling endemic problems.

The Invisible War (USA, 2012), directed by Kirby Dick, produced by Amy Ziering, is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape within the US military which has now been taken on by the military as a training tool, has exerted pressure on top level decision makers and introduced new codes of conduct for investigating Military Sexual Assault into legislation.

The PUMA Impact Award is one of three awards made possible through a partnership between PUMA and BRITDOC.



Written by

Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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