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No Malice Film Celebration to be Held September 19th at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The winning filmmakers of The No Malice Film Contest, presented by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (ALPLF), The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, will have their work presented at 2pm on Sunday, September 19th, at The Yard at Navy Pier's Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave. These ten winning filmmakers, ages 11-21, created outstanding short films as part of Healing Illinois, a racial healing initiative of the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust. Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address sought to heal the nation's racial wounds after the Civil War "with malice toward none, with charity for all." 

"I feel privileged to witness the blossoming of these young filmmakers as they thoughtfully use art to convey ideas and principles of empathy, kindness, and community," said RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert. "Working with them gave me a sense of hope for our future. I along, with Angela Staron of ALPLF, and our Judges Panel were constantly heartened as we watched not only the films that ultimately won the contest, but all of the submissions. We even had to disqualify some films because they came from other countries, or were submitted by contestants who didn't meet other qualifications. But even in those instances we previewed films that telegraphed that some of these young people today will certainly become compassionate leaders of tomorrow."

The films were judged by a panel of 21 professional film critics and filmmakers who were impressed by the creativity and empathy displayed by the filmmakers. Cash prizes were awarded to first, second and third place winners in each age bracket (11-14, 15-18, 19-21). First places winners received $2,000, second place received $1,000 and third place received $500. Additionally, Illinois schools will use the films, and supplemental curriculum created by educators, to talk about race and the harmful impact of bias and injustice. Here are our distinguished winners in each category...

Winning Directors and Films

Ages 19-21:

  • 1st place: Anna Lee Ackermann, "As We Are Planted"
  • 2nd place: Michael Proctor: "A Call to Fight Lies: Practical Steps to Fight Injustice"
  • 3rd place: Zaknafein Luken, "Hate is Not Welcome Here"

Ages 15-18:

  • 1st place: Kenya Apongule, "Hush"
  • 2nd place: Sean Emmanuel Atienza, "Puzzle"
  • 3rd place: Azalee Irving, "Interracial Relationships"

Ages 11-14:

  • 1st place: Niko Pecori-Robinson, "Be the GOOD"
  • 2nd place: London Shields, "Racial Healing in Oppressed Communities"
  • 3rd place: (tie): Abigail Eldridge, "We the People"
  • 3rd place: (tie): Jessica Wong, "Racial Justice"

To book your tickets for The No Malice Film Celebration, visit the official site of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. You can find the full list of bios for each winning filmmaker here.

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