Sony Pictures Television, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, has announced Vinamra Pancharia, from India, as the global winner of the Picture This Festival for the Planet. Pancharia was named the global winner last night following an all-day event with eight regional finalists on the iconic Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Los Angeles.
The Picture This Festival for the Planet was established to celebrate everyday storytellers and change makers worldwide, showcasing the positive future they see for our planet through the art of film. Earlier this year, people from over 70 countries were invited to submit videos between one and eight minutes in length inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of global goals agreed upon by all 193 member states of the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and promote prosperity for all. This initiative was supported by SPT’s networks around the world.
Pancharia’s winning film Tubelight will also stream free in the United States on the premium, ad-supported service Sony Crackle. Tubelight chronicles a homeless orphan’s dream of attending school, an opportunity that every child deserves. Despite not having the means, the boy sits outside a classroom window during the day and studies under a street light at night. Through the moving short-film, the boy’s dream of sitting inside the classroom sees the light of day when people from all walks of life get to feel his spirit, read and share his story, bringing hope to so many young children like him.
“Education is the foundation for building prosperity and health. In Mumbai, at traffic signals, you find these kids selling books. They should be using them in the classroom. True progress is only possible when every child is in the classroom. It all boils down to education. With this film, I just want to create that call to change,” said Pancharia.
As part of the Picture This Festival for the Planet, the eight short-film competition finalists, all emerging filmmakers from around the world, were invited to Sony Pictures Studios on July 31 for a day of networking and training. The day culminated with a screening of the regional finalists’ films at the Picture This Festival award ceremony, which was attended by film enthusiasts, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) executives, students, and representatives from the UN Foundation, United Nations, World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate, and other partners. The other global finalists and short-films featured include Mark Lee (Malaysia, Mr. Garbage); Yatri Niehaus and Constantin Campean (Germany, Atlantis Real Estate); Daniel Mendoza (Mexico, Flying Home); Wally Tham (Singapore, Sayang Kalimantan); Francisco T. Navarro Ruescas (Spain, Huevos Ecologicos); Bethany Borg (United Kingdom, The Conductor); Carolyn Meub (the United States, Why Do You Give?).
Regional finalists received airfare and accommodations for two nights in Los Angeles, along with a Sony RX0 Camera and a one-year WeTransfer Plus account. The grand prize winner was honored with a Sony Alpha A9 camera and a SEL 2470Z lens.
“Through Picture This, we want to empower aspiring filmmakers to use their storytelling talents to inform audiences about the important issues we’re facing in today’s world, including the threat of global warming,” said John Rego, Vice President, Sustainability, SPE. “Thanks to Sony Pictures Television’s vast networks around the world and the UN Foundation, this initiative helped shine a light on these global goals that will make our planet a better place for all of us.”
The Picture This Festival for the Planet is the latest SPE project to bring awareness to the SDGs. In 2016, the United Nations and SPE launched Angry Birds for a Happy Planet, a global youth outreach campaign that leveraged online and social media platforms to encourage action to protect the planet and fight climate change. In 2017, supported by the cast of the Smurfs: The Lost Village, audiences were encouraged to join “Team Smurfs” for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign that inspired everyone to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“Through the Sustainable Development Goals, the world has been called to action. Businesses, organizations, individuals, and governments each play a unique and integral role to meeting our shared challenges head-on,” said Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy CEO, United Nations Foundation. “The UN Foundation applauds the creativity and vision of these filmmakers to use their art to inspire equally creative answers. Local solutions can and must drive global action across our sustainability goals.”
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors.
The global judging panel for The Picture This Festival for the Planet consisted of celebrity advocates and industry leaders including Megan Boone, environmental advocate, and actress from the hit TV series The Blacklist; Anggun, internationally renowned recording artist; Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, United Nations Foundation; Mr. N.P. Singh, MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India; Marie Jacobson, EVP Programming & Production, Sony Pictures Television; Tom Bernard & Michael Barker, Co-Presidents, Sony Pictures Classics; Glenn Gainor, President of Physical Production, Screen Gems; Brett King, Vice President, Creative Programming, Diversity & Inclusion; Tetsuya Bessho Actor, Founder/President of Short Shorts Film Festival; Damon and Jo, YouTube vloggers; Debbie Levin, President & CEO, Environmental Media Association; and Damian Bradfield, President and Chief Marketing Officer, WeTransfer.