Changemaker Film Competition Shares Solutions

PROVO, Utah – Oct 26, 2016 – When BYU alumna Emily Brand heard about the Changemaker Film Competition a month before submissions were due, she decided to take a chance to live out her dreams.

“My dream is to do film festivals, make movies, and create, but I always kind of just postponed it,” she says.

The Changemaker Film Competition, sponsored by the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance as part of the annual Peery Film Festival, offered the perfect opportunity for her to not only create a film but also address social problems such as hunger and homelessness.

Brand, a 2013 media arts graduate, was initially unsure how to document these problems. But when she heard about GardenShare, a fledgling nonprofit organization run by community volunteer Pat Thomas, she knew it was the perfect fit for her film. Brand and Thomas spent the next month working together to create The Harvest is Truly Great, which went on to become the winning entry in the Changemaker Film Festival.

The film documents Thomas’s work to bring fresh produce to local food banks and explains how people can donate their excess produce to people who need it. GardenShare encourages Utahns to donate their extra produce to charity and, according to its website, the organization has collected three-thousand pounds of food so far in 2016.

“It was really exciting to know there was a place where I could donate [produce] because I really didn’t know much about the food bank,” Brand says. “I thought you could only donate cans, something that’s nonperishable, but it’s so much more open.”

After watching The Harvest is Truly Great at the festival, recreation management student Kate Romney visited GardenShare’s website to learn how she could donate.

“It’s such a simple solution,” Romney says. “It’s not the biggest of problems, but it’s a problem that can help so many by being solved.”

This is the first year the Ballard Center has hosted the Changemaker Film Festival. According to Ballard Center event coordinator Rose Palmer, BYU students and alumni submitted twenty-one films to the competition, nine of which were featured at the film festival.

“With [the competition] we get to feature more solutions, more voices,” says Alicia Gettys, Ballard Center communications and operations manager. “I think when we share solutions to world problems it can provide models of hope.”

Judges recognized films for their quality of cinematography, description of a social issue, and description of a solution to a social issue. Extra points were awarded to films that presented especially innovative solutions. Films received the following awards:

  • Best Cinematography: Bridges
  • Best Solution to a Social Problem: The Harvest is Truly Great
  • Audience Choice: Kisoa Farms Madagascar
  • Exceptional Description of a Social Issue: Forward: Improving Our Response to Rape
  • Exceptional Description of a Social Issue: Project Read: Changing Lives Through Literacy
  • First Place: The Harvest is Truly Great
  • Second Place: Bridges
  • Third Place: Kisoa Farms Madagascar

The Peery Film Festival also featured screenings of award-winning documentaries with panel discussions as well as the Changemaker Fair, where local organizations showed students how they combat social issues.

“We think if people have better understanding of a social problem they can start to seek out better solutions to solve those problems,” Gettys says. “I hope they feel inspired by the social problem, not overwhelmed by it.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

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Left to right: Changemaker Film Competition judges Camden Robinson and Ann Earl, winner Emily Brand, judge Troy Looper, and Ballard Center director Todd Manwaring.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Kayla Goodson