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The Winners of the Inaugural No Malice Film Contest are Revealed

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, announced 10 winners ages 11-21 who 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.

Winning films will premiere at EbertFest at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on September 8-11, 2021. The films were judged by a panel of 21 professional film critics who were extremely 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.

“These young artists rose to this challenge in a challenging time, bringing their boundless creativity and unique perspectives to the issue of racial harms and healing. We’re honored to be able to provide them with this platform and to recognize their achievements,” said Erin Carlson Mast, ALPLF’s President & CEO.

"Racial healing begins with an acknowledgement of the problem and a willingness to work hand-in-hand toward a solution. Judging from the creativity and compassion exhibited by these young filmmakers, I have tremendous hope for humanity, and also tremendous hope for the future of cinema. It gives me great satisfaction to employ the arts to give greater meaning to life itself,” said Chaz Ebert, president of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation.

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"

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation supports the collections and the educational and cultural programming of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; fosters Lincoln scholarship through the acquisition and publication of documentary materials relating to Lincoln and his era; and promotes a greater appreciation of history through exhibits, conferences, publications, online services, and other activities designed to promote historical literacy.

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