LONDON – The Sundance Institute and WorldView will jointly present four awards to films focusing on social justice issues in the developing world during the inaugural Sundance London film and music festival, which kicks off here this Thursday.
The four films taking the plaudits are Street Girls by Katie Mark, Farming by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaj, Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil and Valley of Saints by Musa Syeed.
Each award brings a £5,000 ($8,000) or £10,000 ($16,000) grant, while the documentary development award for Street Girls also comes with professional access to film mentorship from Jerry Rothwell, whose documentaries have been supported by WorldView and the Sundance Institute.
The prizes will be dished out at a private event during Sundance London, which runs through April 29 at the O2 Arena.
Organizers said projects from emerging filmmakers in all corners of the globe were considered, with the winning projects “displaying originality and innovation in their approach to social justice issues in the developing world and contextualizing their outreach to maximize the social impact of the films.”
Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization, while WorldView is a CBA [Commonwealth Broadcasting Association] project that aims to improve U.K. public understanding and awareness of the developing world via mainstream broadcast and digital media.
Both Street Girls and Farming pick up the top dollar prize of $16,000, while My Brother the Devil and Valley of Saints each get $8,000.
Street Girls is an intimate insight into the lives of three girls working as prostitutes in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Farming details the true story of a Nigerian boy's search for love and his life in a brutal skinhead subculture. Writer-director Akinnuoye-Agbaje's resume as an actor boasts turns in GI Joe, The Bourne Identity, Lost and Oz.
My Brother the Devil, which picked up the world cinema cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival in January this year, tells the tale of a pair of British Arab brothers trying to get by in inner-city London. It stars James Floyd, Saïd Taghmaoui and Fady Elsayed.
Valley of Saints, shot by Syeed in Kashmir, details the story of a man who plans to escape the unrest, curfews and poverty surrounding his village with his best friend, but a beautiful young woman researching a dying lake leads him to contemplate a different future.