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June 11, 2015
NEWS: The One Minutes Jr. featured at GIFF in the USA
From the start, festival organizers said they didn't just want to show great movies. They also wanted to use the event to shed light on social issues. The festival partnered with UNICEF and showed short films from the organization's OneMinutesJr. program, in which children from around the world are able to make mini-films about their lives and circumstances.
A panel on social impact films is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Cole Auditorium.
"This is the most prestigious event of the festival," festival COOGinger Stickelsaid of the gala. "Both Harry Belafonte and Mia Farrow have been tremendous humanitarians and they have both used film to serve the greater good. They've used their star power for the betterment of society."
Stickel pledged the Changemaker Gala would be a part of the film festival next year and in future years, a promise Stapleton Reyes was quick to echo.
"This is part of the heart of what we're trying to do at the Greenwich International Film Festival," she said.
UNICEF executives Casey Rotter and Barron Segar said they were thrilled with how the partnership with the festival had gone.
"We always want to figure out a way to partner with the entertainment industry because there's so much they can offer by telling people's stories and amplifying the voice we have for kids through our work," said Rotter, director and founder of UNICEF'sNext Generationinitiative. "It's been wonderful and it's so exciting to be celebrating Harry Belafonte and Mia Farrow tonight, two of our most dedicated UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors."
Segar, senior vice president of development for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, said he returned from Zambia two weeks ago and saw first-hand how the OneMinutesJr. project was having an effect; how kids were using the film equipment given them to document the impact of climate change on their lives.
"It's great to be able to harness the power of film to better the lives of children," he said. "Tonight gives us a great audience to get our message out and to get people thinking about children."