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Please check out press materials for Breakthrough’s I AM THIS LAND contest below. For information on the I AM THIS LAND story-telling project in partnership with Flushing International High School — the winners of our I AM THIS LAND contest  — please check out their stories HERE.

WATCH Breakthrough’s video interview with winners from Flushing International High School on their entry “Role Call

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrea Retzky for Breakthrough at andrea@retzky.com or 917-587-5473

 

NYC HIGH SCHOOL TEAM WINS NATIONAL VIDEO CONTEST ON DIVERSITY

Winning Entry Is Response to School Bullying

NEW YORK – March 1, 2011 – Flushing International High School in Queens, New York City, has won the top prize in human rights organization Breakthrough’s I AM THIS LAND video contest (www.iamthisland.org).

“Role Call” (http://iamthisland.org/watch-and-vote/videos/role-call-2/), was created by a team of students and alumni under the supervision of FIHS Media Arts Teacher, Dillon Paul. “Role Call” took the top prize with an MTV-style video of a young student in class who, through daydreams, explores gender, cultural expression, and racial stereotypes.

“The video was created in response to several incidents of violence in our school, and our desire to use media to promote respect and tolerance in our school and beyond,” said teacher Dillon Paul. “Our students come from approximately 40 different countries and speak 20 different languages.  Like most high schools, however, cultural differences, sexual and gender identity can be sources of discomfort and fear, leading to bigotry, bullying and violence.”

Paul worked with current students and two alumni, Jean Franco Vergaray and Osbani Garcia, who had been instrumental in developing school programs, such as the Gay Straight Alliance, to promote respect and equality for LGBTQ youth when they were students at the high school. Jean Franco, of East Elmhurst, NY, a recent grad of FIHS, a budding filmmaker, dancer, and chef, directed the video and served as lead editor. Said Franco, “That we could portray one person being all these different personalities, all these different identities, was just a way to say, diversity is okay. People shouldn’t be labeled.”

In creating this contest, Breakthrough (www.breakthrough) put out a national call to young people across the country to make a video on diversity using the words, “I AM THIS LAND.”  The contest was Breakthrough’s response to the divisive rhetoric of the past year, and sought to give young people the opportunity to celebrate diversity and recommit to building a society that respects human rights and values dignity, equality and justice. “We are pleased that so many people responded to our call for a creative expression of a more positive and open-minded future,” said Crissy Spivey, Multimedia Manager at Breakthrough. The initiative received more than 11,000 views, garnered 1,374 votes and more than 450 comments from excited viewers.

Runner up videos used music, comedy, and documentary to illustrate racism, stereotypes, coming out to one’s parents, and more. The first runner-up, What Are You? was created by Genevieve Lin of Seattle, Washington. Additional runners-up include: I’m Coming Out, American Dream, American Girl and Listen.

The submitted video entries were judged by panel of industry experts including John Jackson, director of social responsibility at MTV Networks; Liz Friedlander, award winning music video director for U2, REM and feature films; Malcolm Campbell, publisher of SPIN magazine; Maria Hinojosa, award-winning PBS journalist and author; Julie Zeilinger, founder of teen feminist blog The Fbomb; and singer Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

I AM THIS LAND partners include Activision (makers of Guitar Hero and DJ Hero), SPIN Magazine, Change.org, WITNESS, Parlour Magazine, Hollaback, Mobilize.org, HeadCount, Women’s Media Center, The Fbomb, See3, Therapy, Latina Lista, 20,000 Dialogues and Vivir Latino. The top winner will receive a grand prize of $2500, a 1-Day internship at SPIN Magazine and more.

About the creators of the winning video

Dillon Paul is a Media Arts Educator with an interest in social justice media.  She currently teaches Media Arts at Flushing International High School.

Lead Director and Editor, Jean Franco Vergaray, is originally from Peru and graduated from FIHS in 2009. Currently living in East Elmhurst, NY, he dances and performs at the Mambo Bravo dance studio.  He is passionate about video and film, and is in the process of launching his own freelance business here in New York.

Lead actor, Osbani Garcia, is originally from Mexico, and graduated from FIHS in 2009.  Valedictorian of his high school class and a Posse Scholar, he currently attends Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where he is majoring in Gender Studies with a minor in Psychology. As a gay young man with a major in Gender Studies, he aspires to “soothe the identity crisis” of youth today and strives to prevent suicides among gay teens.

Credits

Starring Osbani Garcia

Directed by Jean Franco Vergaray

Edited by Jean Franco Vergaray

Make up design by Johanna Reynoso

Produced by Dillon Paul

Costume Design by Johanna Reynoso, Osbani Garcia, Jean Franco Vergaray, and Dillon Paul

Sound design by Jean Franco Vergaray and Dillon Paul

Animation by Jean Franco Vergaray and Dillon Paul

Production Assistance by Angelica Perez and Osbani Garcia

Crew members include Laura Cortez, Tarandeep Kaur, Jorge Chimborozado, Dani Hernandez, Jessica Morocho, Erika Villa, Yiyi Yang, and Jenna Wilbanks

Flushing International High School is a New York City public high school that opened in September 2004 in Flushing, New York. Students come from over 40 different countries and speak over twenty different native languages. Flushing International is a NYC School Empowerment School in District 25. http://www.flushinginternational.org/

About Breakthrough

Breakthrough is a global, human rights organization that uses the power of media, pop culture, and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action for dignity, equality, and justice. Based in India and the United States, Breakthrough addresses critical global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, and immigrant rights and racial justice. For more information please visit www.breakthrough.tv.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrea Retzky for Breakthrough at andrea@retzky.com or 917-587-5473

HUMAN RIGHTS ORG BREAKTHROUGH LAUNCHES “I AM THIS LAND” VIDEO CONTEST

Call for Expression of Hope for Diversity and Inclusion in U.S.

Actor Michael Urie Creates Supporting Video, Top Winner Gets $2500, Other Prizes

 

NEW YORK – Leading human rights organization Breakthrough today announced the “I AM THIS LAND” video contest, its latest effort to initiate conversations about diversity, inclusion and the future of this country by utilizing social media and creative expression. The I AM THIS LAND contest calls for participants to make a video (or write a Twitter post) using the phrase “I AM THIS LAND” to express their aspirations for a more positive and open-minded America.

Videos can include any genre, such as animation, documentary, music video, or a mash up. Actor Michael Urie of ABC’s Ugly Betty created a video supporting the I AM THIS LAND contest and encouraging participants to enter. It can be viewed at www.iamthisland.org.

“It’s been a year of remarkably angry and divisive rhetoric, and I believe that many people in America are ready for a more positive attitude toward diversity and equality,” said Mallika Dutt, founder, president and CEO of Breakthrough. “This is an opportunity for individuals to present their ideas, their vision, and their values of what being in America is all about. I AM THIS LAND encourages an exploration of what it means to live in America today and an opportunity to reclaim and embrace diversity.”

I AM THIS LAND participants can upload their videos to contest site www.iamthisland.org, and fans across the country will view, discuss and rate each submission. A panel of high profile judges including John Jackson, director of social responsibility at MTV Networks; Liz Friedlander, award winning music video director for U2, REM and feature films; Malcolm Campbell, publisher of SPIN magazine; Maria Hinojosa, award-winning PBS journalist and author; Julie Zeilinger, founder of teen feminist blog The Fbomb; and singer Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will review the top 15 videos and select the winners. Breakthrough will also select a winning Twitter post, which must be tagged with #iamthisland.org. Submissions will be judged for overall impact of messages, narratives, calls to action and creativity. Entries will be accepted until January 7, 2011.

I AM THIS LAND partners include Activision (makers of Guitar Hero and DJ Hero), SPIN Magazine, Change.org, WITNESS, Parlour Magazine, Hollaback, Mobilize.org, HeadCount, Women’s Media Center, The Fbomb, See3, Therapy, Latina Lista, 20,000 Dialogues and Vivir Latino. The top winner receives a grand prize of $2500, a 1-Day internship at SPIN Magazine, a Skype call with an Academy and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Danny Alpert, and Activision music games including Guitar Hero, Band Hero, DJ Hero.  Additional prizes include DJ Hero, tickets to hit Broadway musical Mamma Mia and more. For full details, contest rules, and prizes, please visit www.iamthisland.org.

About Breakthrough

Breakthrough is a global, human rights organization that uses the power of media, pop culture, and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action for dignity, equality, and justice. Based in India and the United States, Breakthrough addresses critical global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, and immigrant rights and racial justice. For more information please visit www.breakthrough.tv.

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