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Connecther Film Festival Issue - February 2014
Connecther & the Harvard College Social Innovation Collaborative held the 2014 Girls Impact the World Awards Ceremony at Harvard on February 22, 2014

Judges Choice Grand Prize Winner, Point B, a brilliant film by Kathryn Harhai about sexual assault from the point of view of the victim. 

First Place Winner Kathryn 3

Judge comments on Kathryn's film:

Zainab Salbi: "The way "Point B" used the intimate, first-person perspective and photographs that chart a childhood was particularly clever and moving."

Ian Somerhalder said, "This is really an enlightening and candid perspective from the victim of such horrendous abuse... As a viewer, I am emotionally coerced into the perspective of the narrator. It's both devastating to watch as well as invigorating. While the pain forces its way into our consciousness, it simultaneously and unabashedly ignites the passion within us to end this silence in the most urgent fashion."

Girls Impact the World and the Dubai International Film Festival Partner to Create The DIFF Awards!

DIFF Awards:

Girls Impact the World is so pleased to announce the winners of the DIFF Awards (GITW partnered with the Dubai International Film Festival to offer two prizes to students from MENA, Asia and Africa).    Abdulhamid Juma, Chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival and GITW judge commented: “One of the Dubai International Film Festival’s primary objectives is to support home grown talent by providing access to the knowledge and skills aspiring filmmakers require to enhance their careers.  The Girls Impact the World Film Festival has the same objectives as DIFF, to discover and develop new talent, enrich film culture and define its storytellers. The film prize has been created to award young women who are passionate about filmmaking and bring their projects to audiences at home and abroad.”   Judges who were present to award prizes include: Eloise DeJoria, Ian Somerhalder and Abigail Disney

DIFF Awards Go To:

I Don't Want Grandma To Talk (Winner)
Susan the first Afghan Girl Rapper (1st Runner Up)


Winner will receive a $3500 scholarship and 1st Runner Up will receive a $1500 Scholarship.


Eloise Ian Abigail 2


Kubra Jafari (Afghanistan), director and producer of Susan, the First Afghan Girl Rapper's acceptance:

"I have received an email that my film (Susan the first Afghan girl rapper) became one of 15 tops.  I felt so happy on that time.  But when yesterday I received another email about being finalist I start crying that my film could have the impact that I wanted.  It mean a lot to me.  There is no word for me to express my feeling, since last night I have read the email more than forty times.  I hope this short documentary could convey the message behind Susan's songs."


Girls Impact the World and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation partner to award the Green IS Award!

Girls Impact the World and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation presented the first ever Green IS award through a unique opportunity for students to submit a 3 to 5 minute film that either: 1)proposed solutions to environmental issues impacting women and girls or 2)created awareness about environmental issues that impact women and girls.

Awards went to:

Rural to Ramp  (Winner) Iwani Mawocha
Harvesting Hope (1st Runner Up) Sarah Khan

Judge, Ian Somerhalder said about Rural to Ramp,
"What a truly important piece of work. This film encapsulates what happens when you add empowerment to sustainability and it relays the exceptional meaning behind that concept. Every item made by these women holds such history."

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation Team awarded the prizes!


Ian team1 2

Rural to Ramp Winner, acceptance letter (Swaziland): My name is Iwani Zoë Mawocha. Iwani comes from the Kalanga tribe, meaning 'speak out and listen.' Zoe is of Greek origin, meaning 'life.' If my name were a prophecy, it would be to 'speak out and listen [to] life.' When I was sixteen years old and reading Salt Water Girl magazine, I came across a feature on Ian Somerhalder. It highlighted all the brilliant initiatives he had done, from The Trevor Project to the IS Foundation. I have admired and respected him since. This was much to the amusement of my peers, as I had never watched Vampire Diaries, I was simply in awe of his passion for environmental sustainability. 

I never would have fathomed that I would be receiving an award from his very same foundation a mere three years later. I am both honoured and grateful to be able to showcase my videographic work and promote Mustard Seed Africa on such a prestigious international platform. I thank God every day for opening up both of these platforms for me, to be able to explore, learn, share, create, speak out and listen. I would now like to thank Connect Her, The Green IS Foundation, the other sponsors and respected judges for this incredible opportunity.  
Mazvita, Ngiyabonga, Thank you.

A Remarkable Evening

It was a remarkable evening with Ara and Kerry (GITWFF co-founders) so eloquently MC-ing with a kind thank you from Harvard SIC president Nishin Nathwani.  Rebecca Dharmapalan, last year's GITW Film Festival winner, started us off by welcoming everyone and sharing updates on the doors that have opened since she won last year's competition.  Because of her work, the city of Oakland has a renewed energy to fight sex-trafficking.  We had the distinct pleasure of hearing from Abigail Disney; Abigail urged the young female film-makers NOT to put their cameras down - keep sharing your stories through film!!!  Deepa Donde (film-maker and GITWFF Board of Advisors) presented Jordyn Roach with her Brave New Beauty Prize for her truly inspiring film that is re-defining beauty - Broken Beauty.  Adriiana Jackson favorably surprised us by performing along to her film, what's L.O.V.E - so cool! Connecther founder and GITWFF co-founder Lila Igram had a conversation with Ian Somerhalder & Kim Klingler (co-founders of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation).  Ian shared his perspective on GITW issues including approaches on how to get more young men involved in uplifting the voice of women and girls.  We also had some good laughs :-).  Eloise DeJoria & Ian Somerhalder closed out the evening by giving out the final awards.  All photo credits to Heidi Lim, Rosa Huang, and Alyssa Leader

Abigail Disney Speaking 3    Peoples Choice Award Dan and Adriiana 3
The inspiring Abigail Disney, our keynote               Dan Brown presenting Adriiana with
                                                                              the People's Choice Award!

Q and A4 3      finalists with Ian
 Kim, Ian and Lila - A conversation with Ian                       GITW finalists on red carpet
       Kerry and ara2Harvard SIC1
          Kerry and Ara, GITWFF co-founders,                        Harvard SIC Group Photo!
             producers and directors MC-ing  

Rebecca intro 2       YB5A5415
   Rebecca Dharmapalan opening the night                     Jordyn displaying her Brave New
                                                                                              Beauty Award

GITW      Sarah Melissa Cynthia 3
                we had a full house!                             Sarah, Melissa and Cynthia, the Girl-Up Girls
Eloise Ian Constance       Seitu Noah Ian Zak
    Eloise DeJoria, Ian Somerhalder and                              Seitu, Noah Aossey, Ian and
  Constance Dykhuizen on the red carpet!
                              Zak Aossey on red carpet
Deepa Vogue      founders and judges
    Deepa presenting Brave New Beauty Award!            The GITWFF co-founders and judges on red                                                                                                          carpet
We want to thank all of the amazing students for sharing their passions about issues related to advancing women and girls globally.  We also want to thank all of our semi-finalist and finalist judges for taking the time to view and judge the films and all of the volunteers who helped out with the film festival, including the Harvard SIC team and Cynthia Hass.  Thanks so much to Connecther board and advisors including Tarik Aossey.

If you know of a student who might like to submit a film, tell them to start now!  GITW is an annual event, submissions for GITW 2015 will be accepted starting in May of 2014. Enter here.

Finalists Announced Below (winners also announced on facebook)!

Judge Zainab Salbi said, "
I want to congratulate all the filmmakers, as this was an eclectic selection of poignant and significant themes. The passion and knowledge exhibited in these movies proves how youth are establishing their voices through innovative expression"

The GITW Judges Choice 2014 Top 3:

Point B (Grand Prize Winner) Kathryn Harhai
A Chance (1st Runner Up) Sarah Gale
The Spring Storm (2nd Runner Up) Polen Ly



Broken Beauty (Winner) Jordyn Roach

Judge Eloise DeJoria said about Broken Beauty, "horrifing what we go through with self image and so young. Hard but another true message. I wish society helped us to love ourselves as we are."

Judge Ian Somerhalder said about Broken Beauty, "When you see the women in magazines and want to look like them you are chasing a ghost. And that makes me so angry."

Cisco Award:

she++, The Documentary (Winner) Ayna Agarwal & Ellora Israni

Judge Ian Somerhalder said about she++, "Mindblowing. A magnificent film demonstrating great tone, voice, pacing, editing and content wrapped into a phenomenally creative package. She++ finds a way to encourage the audience and show us strong, talented leaders clear paths for women."

Green IS Top 2 finalists:

Rural to Ramp  (Winner) Iwani Mawocha
Harvesting Hope (1st Runner Up) Sarah Khan

DIFF Award (Dubai International Film Festival Award):

I Don't Want Grandma To Talk (Winner) Zhu Yun
Susan the first Afghan Girl Rapper (1st Runner Up) Kubra Jafari

Judge Zainab Salbi says about "I Don't Want Grandma to Talk, "uniquely brings together details to raise awareness of the way generations relate to gender."

People's Choice:


Judge Eloise DeJoria said about what's L.O.V.E., "This is an enormous problem, and great film to tell a story that is happening to so many. Just awful. I hope young girls and women can leave the abusive one, or get help themselves."

Sarah Gale, Judges Choice 1st Runner Up Receiving her award for A Chance:

Judge Eloise DeJoria says about A Chance, "love the truth of this film and tells what happens to people when they are abused ..love her voice it will mean a lot to so many who hear her story."

GITW Sarah First Runner Up 3



With Gratitude,

The GITW Team


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